A woman who was sentenced to life in prison for killing the man she said trafficked her for sex has just been granted clemency. Cyntoia Brown had her sentence commuted by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today after serving 15 years in prison.
“This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case,” Haslam said in a statement released by his office.
Brown was convicted in 2004 of the murder of Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old real estate broker she claims was trafficking her for sex. She was tried as an adult in the case, convicted, and sentenced when she was 16 years old.
“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,” Haslam said in the statement.
Haslam’s office pointed to the reformational work that Brown did during her time in prison, including getting her GED and noting that she is expected to get her bachelor’s degree this year.
The decision to grant Brown clemency, which lawmakers and advocates have been pushing for, is one of the final acts of the outgoing Republican governor.
Brown will be subject to parole until August 2029.