Cyntoia Brown, a woman convicted of killing the man who purchased her as a sex slave when she was 16-years-old in 2004 and sentenced to life in prison, was granted reprieve by the Republican Governor of Tennessee. Gov. Bill Haslam commuted her sentence to time served making her eligible for parole as early as August 2019.
Gov. Halsam released a statement detailing his reason for the release reading:
“This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case. 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. So, I am commuting Ms. Brown’s sentence, subject to certain conditions.”
Through her attorneys, Brown also released a statement, thanking the governor:
“Thank you, Governor Haslam, for your act of mercy in giving me a second chance. I will do everything I can to justify your faith in me.
I want to thank those at the Tennessee Department of Corrections who saw something in me worth salvaging, especially Ms. Connie Seabrooks for allowing me to participate in the Lipscomb LIFE Program. It changed my life. I am also grateful to those at the Tennessee Department of Corrections who will work with me over the next several months to help me in the transition from prison to the free world.
Thank you to Dr. Richard Goode and Dr. Kate Watkins and all of you at Lipscomb University for opening up a whole new world for me. I have one course left to finish my Bachelor’s degree, which I will complete in May 2019.”
Brown was tried as an adult and wasn’t allowed to testify at her trial. Additionally, her childhood history as a victim of sexual abuse as well as her neurological difficulties weren’t entered into evidence.
Brown was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences for the 2004 killing of the 43-year-old man who bought her for sex. Since her incarceration, Brown has worked towards earning her Bachelor’s degree.
Brown’s case was the subject of a 2011 documentary, Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story, and several celebrities, including Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Snoop Dogg pushed for her release.
Many notable celebrities tweet out thanks after the news of Brown’s clemency was announced:
Yes!!! Cyntoia Brown is granted full clemency!! Thank you, Governor Haslam! Thank you! https://t.co/4rJUH5Wiwd
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) January 7, 2019
— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) January 7, 2019
👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 Thank you Governor Haslam 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 https://t.co/rAiru84fgn
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) January 7, 2019
Lead image via Twitter.
h/t: Refinery 29