In 2017, the case of Cyntoia Brown captivated the world. Despite having already served 13 years in the US prison system, celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and Cara Delevingne used their high-profile social media followers to draw the attention to the tragic case.
At just 16-years-old, Brown shot a 43-year-old Nashville man who had paid a pimp for her, driven her to his home and had sex with her. Prior to that, Brown had run away from her adopted home and ended up living with the pimp, named 'Kut Throat', who, along with multiple other men, news.com.au reports, raped and abused her.
Brown shot the 43-year-old who had bought her from Kut Throat after he rolled over in bed and she thought he was reaching for his gun. She then pulled out the handgun she had stashed in her bag.
In 2006, Brown faced court and was tried as an adult. She was found guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery and was handed a life sentence. She is currently serving her time at Tennessee Prison for Women, Nashville.
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#FreeCyntoiaBrown became a global Twitter trend, with thousands urging the US government to grant the now 29-year-old clemency.
Today, Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee granted Cyntoia Brown clemency.
Now 30-years-old, Brown will be released to supervised parole on Aug. 7, after serving a total of 15 years in prison.
“Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16,” Mr. Haslam said.
“Yet, imposing a life sentence on a juvenile that would require her to serve at least 51 years before even being eligible for parole consideration is too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life.”
“Transformation should be accompanied by hope,” he added.
In a statement, Ms. Brown thanked the governor “for your act of mercy in giving me a second chance. I will do everything I can to justify your faith in me.”
She also thanked Department of Corrections officials who helped her get an education and “saw something in me worth salvaging.”
Celebrities have taken to Twitter to celebrate Brown's clemency.