After serving 15 years in prison, Cyntoia Brown will finally be released next week.
USA Today reported that “earlier this year then-Gov. Bill Haslam took the rare step of commuting her sentence, paving the way for her Aug. 7 release.”
“Thank you, Governor Haslam, for your act of mercy in giving me a second chance,” Brown said back in January. “I will do everything I can to justify your faith in me.”
She added, “With God’s help, I am committed to live the rest of my life helping others, especially young people. My hope is to help other young girls avoid ending up where I have been.”
As we’ve previously reported, Brown, now 31, was incarcerated at 16-years-old after being charged as an adult and found guilty of murdering Johnny Mitchell Allen. While Brown said that Allen, 45, solicited her for sex in 2004, took her home and threatened her life, prosecutors argued that she shot Allen to rob him, not a means of self-defense.
As Refinery 29 noted, “Brown was not allowed to testify at her original trial, which meant that evidence of her traumatic childhood history, such as her time under the care of the state Department of Children’s Services, and her severe neurodevelopmental disorder wasn’t presented.”
At the time of her arrest, Brown 16-years-old and living with a 24-year-old pimp known as “Cut Throat” who she claims abused her sexually, emotionally and physically. She also claimed that she was forced into sex work.
Because of this miscarriage of justice and inability to see her as a sex trafficking victim, Brown spent nearly 15 years in prison. Thankfully, her freedom is now a reality reality, now thanks to her lawyers, advocates and people on social media demanding for justice.
While spending more than half her adult life in prison, Brown earned a GED and a Bachelor’s degree through Lipscomb University’s LIFE program that offers college courses to those that are incarcerated.
Kate Watkins, Brown’s college teacher and executive director of Lipscomb University told USA Today that she is “thankful and grateful that this story is not going to be wasted, that this young, brave, passionate woman would take this pain and use it for the good of others.”
She added, “It makes me so hopeful. I am so confident in her, absolutely confident.”
While Brown will be released, her sentence wasn’t vacated and she will still be on parole for 10 years and will be required to obtain and hold down a job, perform community service and participate in counseling, USA Today reported.
In order to ensure that Brown is financially sound when she leaves, a GoFundMe has been created.
Twitter celebrated the news of Cyntoia Brown being freed: