Woman convicted of murder as teen wins clemency
by Kent Covington
Posted 1/08/19, 10:33 am
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday granted clemency to a woman sentenced to life in prison for murder when she was 16 years old. Authorities will release Cyntoia Brown, now 30, on parole in August. Brown said she was a human trafficking victim in 2004 when she shot a man who picked her up at a fast food restaurant in Nashville to have sex with her. Law enforcement officials opposed clemency, but vocal supporters, including a number of celebrities, argued Brown acted in self-defense and should not face life imprisonment.
“Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16,” Haslam said in a statement. “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.” Haslam, a Republican, added that Brown has taken “extraordinary steps” to rebuild her life. She will remain on parole for 10 years under the condition she does not violate any state or federal laws, holds a job, and participates in regular counseling. While in prison, Brown earned her GED diploma, and is now one course away from finishing a bachelor’s degree.
“We truly serve a God of second chances and new beginnings,” Brown said in a statement released Monday by her legal team. “The Lord has held my hand this whole time, and I would have never made it without Him. Let today be a testament to His saving grace.”
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