After serving 15 years of a life sentence for the 2004 murder of a Nashville real estate agent, Cyntoia Brown was released from a Tennessee prison on Wednesday.
Brown spent the 15 years at Tennessee Prison for Women on parole, according to the state’s Department of Corrections.
When she committed the crime, Brown was 16 at the time.
Earlier in 2019, former Gov. Bill Haslam took the rare step of commuting her sentence, paving the way for her release.
Her case attracted national attention and drew support from high-profile celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian-West.
In the years leading to her release, Brown’s complicated story also has served to rally lawmakers, juvenile justice reformers and critics of Tennessee’s unusually harsh life sentences for teens, those working to expose child sex trafficking and others highlighting racial inequities in the justice system, according to USA Today.
About Cyntoia Brown
Cyntoia Denise Brown (born Cyntoia Denise Mitchell, January 29, 1988) is an American woman, who at the age of 16, was convicted of the murder and robbery of Johnny Michael Allen.
Brown said that Allen had paid her $150 to have sex with him and that she feared for her life during their encounter, leading her to shoot him.
Prosecutors argued that Brown killed Allen to rob him. Brown was found guilty and sentenced to 51-years-to-life.
After renewed interest in her case in 2018, the governor of Tennessee commuted her original sentence to 15 years, scheduling her for release on August 7, 2019. Her story is detailed in the 2011 documentary Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story.