After Being Denied Prison Release, Cyntoia Brown Granted Clemency Hearing
The 30-year-old Nashville woman has been in prison for the killing of a john since she was 16 years old.
Months after Cyntoia Brown's story resurfaced in the news, Tennessee court officials announced on Thursday, May 3, the 30-year-old who killed a man at age 16 will receive a clemency hearing on May 23.
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Brown received a life sentence in 2004, after killing Johnny Mitchell Allen, who had hired her for sex. Brown said, and has maintained, that she had been made a sex worker against her will by a man named "Cut-throat." She says she killed Allen after he allegedly reached for a gun following their encounter.
For nearly 13 years, Brown has waited for the hearing that could lead to her freedom, reports The New York Times.
“It is up to the governor to decide the process after we make our recommendation,” Melissa McDonald, a spokeswoman for the state Board of Probation and Parole said. “The governor may act on it or choose not to act.”
Last year, Brown gained support from a number of celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian-West after a 2011 documentary Me Facing Life: Cyntoia's Story depicting her life resurfaced online.
The New York Times reports State Representative Jeremy Faison, a Republican from Nashville, has been advocating for Brown's freedom by appealing to Governor Bill Haslam for a pardon.
“Did she kill the guy? Absolutely. Did we have proof of why she killed him? No, we don’t,” he said. “She was the victim of a man who picked her up when she was 16.”
Haslam, who is serving his final year as governor, has not granted any clemency petitions throughout his time in office, according to The Tennesseean. Brown's supporters hope that he will grant pardons, including one for Brown, before he leaves office.
“I would like to tell you that I think the odds are good,” Faison said. However, he acknowledges that “it is hard to get government to admit they are wrong.”