Cyntoia Brown Is Released From Prison

High-profile case had Kim Kardashian, Rihanna up in arms
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 6, 2019 6:47 PM CDT
Updated Aug 7, 2019 6:20 AM CDT
Kim Kardashian Advocated for Her. Now She's Going Free
In this May 23, 2018, file pool photo, Cyntoia Brown smiles at family members during her clemency hearing at Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville, Tenn.   (Lacy Atkins/The Tennessean via AP, Pool, File)

Cyntoia Brown, the woman who said she was a 16-year-old sex-trafficking victim when she killed a man in 2004, was released from prison Wednesday after being granted clemency, the Tennessean reports. Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna, and other celebrities had lobbied for Brown's release, and then-Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam agreed in January. The now-31-year-old Brown will remain on parole supervision for 10 years on the condition she does not violate any state or federal laws, holds a job, and participates in regular counseling sessions, Haslam's commutation says. In a statement released Monday, Brown said she wants to help other women and girls suffering abuse and exploitation. "I thank Governor and First Lady Haslam for their vote of confidence in me and with the Lord's help I will make them as well as the rest of my supporters proud," she wrote, per the AP.

Brown was convicted in 2006 of murdering 43-year-old Nashville real estate agent Johnny Allen; she was sentenced to life, with parole only an option after 51 years. Police said she shot Allen in the back of the head at close range with a gun she brought to rob him after he picked her up at a drive-in restaurant in Nashville to have sex with her. Brown ran away from her adoptive family in Nashville in 2004 and began living in a hotel with a man who forced her to become a prostitute and verbally, physically, and sexually assaulted her, according to court documents. Brown's lawyers contended that in addition to being a victim of sex trafficking who feared for her life, she also lacked the mental capacity to be culpable in the slaying because she was impaired by her mother's alcohol use while she was in the womb. She earned her GED and completed studies with Lipscomb University as an inmate. Brown met with prison counselors to design a plan for her release, which will include time in a transition center and continuing coursework with the Lipscomb program, the state Department of Correction said in a news release. (She also has a book deal.)

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