Cyntoia Brown, a 30-year-old woman serving a life sentence for killing a man who solicited her for sex when she was 16, has been granted clemency and will be released from prison this year to parole supervision, the Tennessee governor’s office announced Monday.
Brown, who said she was forced into prostitution at a young age, was convicted of the 2004 murder of Johnny Mitchell Allen, 43, whom she said she killed in self-defense. She will be released Aug. 7 after serving 15 years in prison.
“This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case,” Gov. Bill Haslam said in a statement. “Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16. 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.”
Brown’s case became a cause célèbre for several high-profile advocates, including comedian Amy Schumer, reality star Kim Kardashian West and actress Ashley Judd.