In a matter of days, Cyntonia Brown and her story has captivated hearts of the nation. The 29-year-old has spent 13 years in prison after she killed a man who hired her as a sex slave. While celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian are defending her, Brown is currently finding ways to change the powers that be in the crimminal justice system.
Speaking to The New York Times Wednesday (Nov. 22), her lawyer Charles Bone shared just how appreciative the Tennessee native is about the response to her troubling case. Brown was tried as an adult for killing a 43-year-old realtor after her bought her for sex.
Defense attempted to highlight Brown’s life story, which includes a pimp by the name of Cut Throat who abused her and sold her to other adults for sex. She also suffered from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder as a baby, which altered her brain and developmental skills. Even with other factors like her mother and grandmother both victims of sexual assault, a jury still convicted the teen on murder. Bone has worked pro bono with Brown for seven years.
“We were very, very appreciative of the fact that such an incredible number of celebrities would join our plea,” said Bone. “She was thrilled by the fact that people really cared.”
Brown hasn’t given up on her freedom. While in prison, she’s gotten her G.E.D., and her associate degree from Lipscomb University. She’s also working as an unpaid consultant to the courts and the Juvenile Justice system. Since her sentencing, the state has stopped charging minors for prostitution. She’s also found allies in Congress like State Representative Jeremy Faison (R-TN), who told the Times how impressed he was with her outlook on the case.
I was amazed at the person I met,” he said after agreeing to meet Brown at the suggestion of a friend. “She was kind, intelligent, she had a disposition or presence about her that was just amazing.”
Brown has also continued her education and hopes to complete her bachelor of arts degree by 2018.
Since her story went viral this week, those who prosecuted the teen are bothered by the support. “There has been a group of people who have wanted to make Ms. Brown a victim and a celebrity since this happened,” former prosecutor Jeff Burks told Fox 17. Since prosecuting Brown, he gone on to work as an assistant district attorney in Madison, GA, one of the most popular areas in the state for sex trafficking. “She was not ‘trafficked’ nor was she a ‘sex slave.’ It’s not fair to the victim and his family that the other side of this case is so seldom heard.”
Brown has been named an “ideal inmate” by prison officials, but Brown seems to be a woman who refuses to become another victim of the crimminal justice system.
“I myself can create opportunities to help people [behind bars],” Brown said to Fox 17. “I want a second chance.”
A petition calling for clemency by the parole board and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has been signed by over 200,000 people.
Check it out below.