Cyntoia Brown, sentenced to life for killing she said was self-defense, released from prison

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Tenn. Gov. Bill Haslam Grants Clemency to Cyntoia Brown

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Cyntoia Brown, a Tennessee woman who was given a life sentence as a teenager for killing a man she said tried to rape her, has been released from prison.

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Now 31, Brown was released Wednesday morning and will be on probation for 10 years, according to a statement from the Tennessee Department of Correction. Brown was granted clemency in January by then-Gov. Bill Haslam.

In 2004, Brown, who was 16 at the time, admitted to shooting 43-year-old Nashville real estate agent Johnny Allen, The Washington Post reported.

Brown told police she had been living with an abusive boyfriend who went by the nickname "Cut Throat," who abused her and forced her into prostitution. Allen, Brown said, picked her up and paid her for sex. While the two were in bed, Brown said she thought she saw Allen pulling out a gun. She shot Allen in self-defense, Brown said.

In 2006, Brown was convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery. She was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 51 years, WSMV-TV reported.

After her sentencing Brown's case gained national attention. She was the subject of a 2011 documentary called "Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story." In 2017, singer Rihanna posted about Brown's case on Instagram, and celebrities including Kim Kardashian and rapper TI followed suit, ABC News reported.

Haslam called Brown's sentence “too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life.”

Brown released the following statement through her attorney earlier this week:

"While first giving honor to God who made all of this possible, I would also like to thank my many supporters who have spoken on my behalf and prayed for me. I’m blessed to have a very supportive family and friends to support me in the days to come. I look forward to using my experiences to help other women and girls suffering abuse and exploitation. I thank Governor and First Lady Haslam for their vote of confidence in me and with the Lord’s help I will make them as well as the rest of my supporters proud."

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