Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam granted executive clemency to Cyntoia Brown, the sex trafficking victim convicted for killing a john at 16, Monday morning.
“This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case,” Haslam said 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.
“Transformation should be accompanied by hope. So, I am commuting Ms. Brown’s sentence, subject to certain conditions.”
Brown will be released to parole supervision on August 7, 2019, after serving 15 years in prison. Parole conditions will require that she not violate any state or federal laws, be subject to a release plan approved by the Tennessee Department of Correction, and special supervision conditions, including employment, education, counseling, and community engagement.
Parole supervision will continue for Brown until August 7, 2029. She will complete re-entry programming prior to her release from custody in August in order to facilitate a successful transition to the community, according to Haslam’s office.
In 2006, Brown was convicted by a Davidson County jury of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery for the 2004 murder of 43-year-old Nashville real estate agent Johnny Allen, which occurred when then-16-year-old Brown was picked up by Allen and taken to his home.
She received a life sentence with the possibility of parole after serving a minimum of 51 years in prison, which means she would not have been eligible for parole consideration until 2055, at the earliest, without the governor’s action.
Here's what state Senator Raumesh Akbari posted on the move Monday morning: