Cyntoia Brown, 31, Will Be Released on Wednesday after Being Jailed for Murder & Robbery at 16

After serving half of her life in prison, 31-year-old Cyntoia Brown will be released from the premises on August 7. She was granted clemency in January after important personalities and journalists clamored for her freedom. 

For half of her life, Cyntoia Brown has been facing the walls of prison. She was sentenced to life when she was only 16. Eight months ago, she was granted clemency and in a couple of days, she’ll finally be free. 

VICTIM OF A TROUBLED LIFE

Brown’s imprisonment was a result of a troubled life that led her to murder a man who solicited her for sex. During her trial in 2004 where she was tried as an adult, she claimed it was self-defense. She feared for her life when the man, 43-year-old Johnny Mitchell Allen, threatened her with a gun after she resisted him. 

In 2017, Brown’s case came to public attention when celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian along with journalists and the clergy came to her defense.

Her defense weakened when it was proven her motive for killing Allen was not self-defense but robbery. She stole Allen’s wallet before fleeing the scene. She was convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery.

WHEN HER CASE TURNED HIGH-PROFILE

In 2017, Brown’s case came to public attention when celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian along with journalists and the clergy came to her defense. They lobbied for her release on the grounds that Brown was a minor defending herself from the evil forces that led to her rape and prostitution. 

“If we stop and listen, we might just show the young people of today how to become the leaders of tomorrow,” she wrote in a letter on Martin Luther King Day as a guest columnist for The Tennessean.  

CLEMENCY GRANTED

In January, Governor Bill Haslam granted Brown clemency, cutting short what would have been a 51-year term behind bars. Recognizing Brown’s growth in prison, (she earned a GED and associate degree from Lipscomb University in 2015 and her bachelor’s degree in May while working as a counsel for at-risk youth in prison), the governor gave her a second chance at life. 

Under her terms of release, she is expected to regularly report to a parole officer for the next ten years as well as retain a job, do community service and attend counseling. 

 

FREEDOM AT HER FINGERTIPS

On August 7, Brown will be seeing the walls of prison for the last time as she leaves the premises with newfound freedom after 15 years. Following the commutation of her sentence in eight months ago, she vowed to help other girls like her outside. 

“If we stop and listen, we might just show the young people of today how to become the leaders of tomorrow,” she wrote in a letter on Martin Luther King Day as a guest columnist for The Tennessean.  

Brown’s life is far from over now that she’ll be able to apply what she learned during her time in prison, outside its walls. Under her terms of release, she is expected to regularly report to a parole officer for the next ten years as well as retain a job, do community service and attend counseling. 

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