When Brown was 16 years old, she began dating this 24-year-old man known as “Kut Throat” who she said forced her to become a sex worker and also physically and sexually abused her. One August day, he sent her to 43-year-old Johnny Allen. Allen reportedly picked her up from a local Sonic fast-food restaurant, bought her food and took her back to his house.
Brown said Allen tried to intimidate her by showing her the guns he owns and bragging about his military experience. Brown never denied pulling the trigger and shooting Allen in the head as he laid in the bed.
At 16, Brown was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison only being eligible for parole after serving 51 years. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme court ruled juveniles given a life sentence without the possibility of parole was unconstitutional. This didn’t apply to Tennessee because parole was a possibility only after serving half-century. Juvenile justice reformers called the ruling “a virtual life sentence.”
In 2011, filmmaker Dan Birman released a documentary on Brown that was widely received and caught the attention of successful Nashville attorney Charles Bone who took on her case pro bono. Bone was just one of many who began to advocate for Brown, and with the help of social media and celebrities, her case quickly exploded and got the attention of the masses.
In January, Bone went to visit her to deliver the news she would be getting out in August. He asked if she was upset that it would take six more months, but Brown was too elated.
“She said, ‘Are you crazy? I was supposed to get out when I was 67 years old.’ “