Outgoing Tennessee governor, Bill Haslam, showed remarkable compassion by granting Cyntoia Brown executive clemency.
When released, Brown will have served 15 years in prison for the 2004 murder of 43-year-old Johnny Allen.
Brown’s tragic tale begins with her becoming the victim of child sex trafficking. At the age of 16 Brown resided with her then 24-year-old boyfriend and pimp “Kut Throat”, who forced her into prostitution.
After soliciting Brown for sex, Allen was shot dead in his home with Brown stating that she thought he was reaching for a gun to kill her.
In 2006 she was tried and convicted as an adult for first-degree murder and sentenced to life.
“Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16,” Haslam said via statement to the Tennessean. “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. So, I am commuting Ms. Brown’s sentence, subject to certain conditions.”
These conditions assert that Brown must participate in regular counseling, work a minimum of 50 hours of community service and find adequate employment.
Brown released a statement through her lawyer following her release thanking Haslam “for your act of mercy in giving me a second chance. I will do everything I can to justify your faith in me.”