A young woman who has spent half of her life behind bars has finally been released from prison.
After much controversy, the Nashville woman, who was imprisoned at the age of sixteen back in 2004, has finally been given a second chance to start a new life.
The young woman was forced to commit one of the worst crimes imaginable after being abused and made to live in a way that no one should be made to live.
Keep scrolling to learn about the life of Cyntoia Brown and how justice was eventually served for the teenager.
Cyntoia Brown was born in Tennessee in 1988.
via: TwitterShe was born into a family dealing with alcohol and drug abuse and had an absent father. Her mom, Georgina Mitchell, was known to heavily drink throughout her pregnancy and she regularly used crack cocaine after the birth of Cyntoia.
This resulted in Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.Cyntoia was born with this condition thanks to her mothers' alcoholism and drug use. The condition reportedly causes "poor impulse control and a disconnect between thought and action."
Cyntoia was adopted a few years later.She was put up for adoption after her mom proved to be unable to take care of her. Despite being placed under new care, the young teenager ran away from home in 2004.
After running away, Cyntoia's life spiraled out of control.It has been reported that, shortly after running away, she was subjected to numerous violent crimes and experienced many rapes and assaults at a young age.
A turbulent childhood...
via: TwitterBefore she ran away, she spent time with the state's Department of Children's Services between April 2001 till September 2003 after committing "crimes against a person" and "crimes against a property."
She met a man who went by the name "Kutthroat..."
via: TwitterIn 2004, Cyntoia began living with Kutthroat in numerous hotels and hostels. Her relationship with this man was extremely abusive physically, emotionally, and sexually. It was reported that he pulled a gun on her several times and would repeatedly rape her until he eventually forced her into prostitution.
She lived under the control of this violent and unpredictable man.Cyntoia later testified that "he would explain to me that some people were born wh*res and that I was one, and I was a sl*t, and nobody would want me but him, and the best thing I could do was just learn to be a good wh*re." She couldn't leave as Kutthroat would threaten to kill her if she did; she once passed out as he choked her so hard.
On the evening of August 6th...
via: TwitterKutthroat ordered Cyntoia to go out to "get money." She met a man called Johnny Allen, a forty-three-year-old estate agent from Nashville.
Cyntoia went home with Allen...According to reports, she ate dinner with him, watched some TV, and got into bed with him. He also showed the teenager his gun collection as he was a former Army sharpshooter, and this collection of firearms understandably made Cyntoia nervous.
Things began to get out of control...Speaking to the trial court, she said: "He grabbed me in-between my legs - he just grabbed it real hard... I'm thinking he's going to hit me or do something like it..." When Allen rolled over and reached for something under the bed, Cyntoia was filled with panic and adrenaline.
She was convinced that she was going to die.
via: TwitterKutthroat had supplied the young woman with a forty-caliber handgun for her own protection, so she quickly turned around, grabbed her gun, and shot Allen in the head, killing him instantly.
Despite Cyntoia being a minor at the time...
via: TwitterShe was trialed as an adult and pleaded self-defense. Sadly, not many believed Cyntoia's plea and assumed that she killed Allen while trying to rob him, as she was found with his wallet and guns when the crime was reported.
The hardships of Cyntoia's life were outlined.Newsweek reported that "during Brown’s trial in 2004, she testified that being beaten, choked, dragged and raped was a regular occurrence in her household. She was often threatened at gunpoint. Her legal team argued the trauma of her childhood is essentially what led her shoot Allen after engaging in intercourse with him, which he paid for."
Her circumstances weren't sympathized with.
via: TwitterHowever, it was reported that many believed that "Brown admitted to shooting Allen, and for some reason, the court system was satisfied with her admission of guilt and did not look at the abusive environment which put her in that situation."
The jury found Cyntoia Brown guilty of first-degree felony murder and aggravated robbery.
via: TwitterShe was sentenced to sixty years in a Tennessee prison and she was told that she wasn't eligible for parole until she had served a minimum of fifty-one years.
Her sentencing caused controversy and not just amongst the general public.
Me Facing Life was released in March 2011...
via: Twitter7 years after her sentencing, the documentary that told Cyntoia's story was released and premiered on PBS's Independent Lens series and was later aired in the U.K by the BBC.
The documentary raised awareness of the injustice.New York Daily News reported that Cyntoia completed her associate's degree through Lipscomb University's in-jail program and that she would volunteer with the Juvenile Justice Association. More and more famous faces came out in support of Cyntoia, including Rihanna who shared an Instagram post captioned: #FREECYNTOIABROWN.
Cyntoia was open about feeling remorseful.It was reported by Fox 17 News that "she did kill someone, she deeply regrets it, but she was a child and she was being exploited."
Kim Kardashian became involved...
The system has failed. It’s heart breaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to figh… https://t.co/pOupx9dfh8— Kim Kardashian West (@Kim Kardashian West)1511279867.0
A chance for Cyntoia to rebuild her life..."This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case. 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," Haslam said in a statement.
A chance to start again...
via: TwitterCyntoia's lawyers released a statement on her behalf; she thanked Haslam, saying, "for your act of mercy in giving me a second chance. I will do everything I can to justify your faith in me." The conditions of her release will involve her staying on parole for ten years, having a consistent job, performing community service, and participating in regular counseling sessions.