Cyntoia Brown, a Tennessee woman who was convicted as a teenager of killing a man while she said she was a sex trafficking victim, was granted clemency Monday by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. Haslam said the decision comes after careful consideration of “what is a tragic and complex case.” Said Haslam 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.”
Brown was granted a full commutation to parole. She will be eligible for release on Aug. 7 after serving 15 years in prison and will remain on parole for 10 years. Brown thanked the governor and her supporters in a statement released Monday by her attorneys. “Thank you, Governor Haslam, for your act of mercy in giving me a second chance,” Brown said. “I will do everything I can to justify your faith in me.”
Brown’s case inspired a 2011 documentary titled “Me Facing Life: The Cyntoia Brown Story,” which thrust her into the spotlight.