After serving 15 years of a life sentence for murder, 31-year-old Cyntoia Brown will finally be released from the Tennessee Prison for Women next week, reported USA Today.
Brown’s freedom comes eight months after Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam granted her clemency. Brown is scheduled for release on Wednesday, August 7.
When he granted her clemency, Haslam called the sentence "too harsh” considering her age and all the work she did in prison to continue her education.
"Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16," Haslam said in a statement. "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."
When Brown was only 16 years old, she was tried and convicted as an adult for the murder of Johnny Mitchell Allan, who solicited sex from her.
Brown said she met the 43-year-old at a restaurant in Nashville after a pimp called “Kut Throat” forced her into a life of prostitution.
While Brown was at Mitchell’s home, he showed her his firearms and discussed how his time in the military made him a sharpshooter.
Brown began to grow fearful of Mitchell and shot him with a gun she had in her purse while the two were in bed. According to Brown, she only opened fire when he appeared to be reaching for one of his guns.
Brown and her lawyers fought the life sentence by filing a lawsuit that claimed the sentence was unconstitutional; however, the Tennessee Supreme Court still decided that she serve a 51-year sentence before being eligible for parole.
After spending nearly half of her life behind bars, Brown’s case received national attention when celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna posted to social media about her case.
Within a matter of days, Brown’s case was trending and people across the country were calling for justice.
While Brown was incarcerated, she worked hard to get her GED and associates degree.
As part of her release terms, Brown will be required to report to a parole officer until August 2029, stay employed, get counseling and participate in community service,
“I am thankful for all the support, prayers, and encouragement I have received. We truly serve a God of second chances and new beginnings,” Brown said in a statement released in January. “The Lord has held my hand this whole time and I would have never made it without Him. Let today be a testament to His Saving Grace.”
A GoFundMe for Cyntoia Brown is collecting donations to help her transition to life outside of prison. The "Cyntoia Brown - Second Chance Fund” was created by her representatives in order to give the public an opportunity to support Brown.
The page notes all funds raised will be "securely placed into a trust fund established for Cyntoia's use and direction."
(Photo: LACY ATKINS/SHUTTERSTOCK)
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