In 2006, Cyntoia Brown was 16 years old when she began a life sentence in prison for the 2004 murder of Johnny Allen. Brown stated that the then-43-year-old man solicited her for sex and she was fearful for her life at his home. As a result, she protected herself by shooting him, but the court determined that she sought to rob him, charged her with first-degree murder, and sentenced her to life with the possibility of parole in 2057.
Now, the 31-year-old has been released from the Tennessee Prison for Women months after former Gov. Bill Haslam granted clemency, ABC News reports. In a statement issued to the press, Brown thanked those that advocated on her behalf to bring her story to the national sphere.
“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,” Brown wrote. “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.” As a teenager, Brown was forced into sex-trafficking by a man named Garion “Kut Throat” McGlothen who repeatedly physically and sexually abused her.
A documentary titled Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story was released in 2011, detailing the accounts of Brown’s case. In mid-October, Brown will release a book named Free Cyntoia, which she began writing while incarcerated. Attached to her prison release is a 10-year supervised probation mandate.