The Torch

Filed under Features, Showcase

A Look Back at the Complex Cyntoia Brown Case

After+having+her+sentence+commuted+by+Tennessee+governor+Bill+Haslam%2C+Cyntoia+Brown+will+be+released+from+prison+after+serving+15+years+of+a+51-year+sentence.
Back to Article
Back to Article

A Look Back at the Complex Cyntoia Brown Case

After having her sentence commuted by Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, Cyntoia Brown will be released from prison after serving 15 years of a 51-year sentence.

After having her sentence commuted by Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, Cyntoia Brown will be released from prison after serving 15 years of a 51-year sentence.

Kaylin Jorge

After having her sentence commuted by Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, Cyntoia Brown will be released from prison after serving 15 years of a 51-year sentence.

Kaylin Jorge

Kaylin Jorge

After having her sentence commuted by Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, Cyntoia Brown will be released from prison after serving 15 years of a 51-year sentence.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






To some observers of her case, Cyntoia Brown is a convicted murderer who shot a man in the head while he was asleep in their bed. To others, she is a frightened victim of child sex trafficking, punished for defending herself.

Prosecutors said she killed Johnny Mitchell Allen, who allegedly solicited Brown for sex, in cold blood. They claimed she had stolen money and guns, taken his truck, and fled the scene. They even argued that the killing was only motivated by robbery, not fear. Brown, who was only 16 years old at the time, claimed she was the victim of sex trafficking and feared for her life.

The situation unraveled as follows: In 2004, Allen, 43, a real estate broker, picked up Brown at a restaurant in Nashville and drove her to his home after she agreed to engage in sexual activity for $150, court documents say. According to Brown, Allen had been acting “squirrely,” and Brown had feared that her life was in danger. The physical evidence didn’t seem to back up this statement, as Allen appears to have been asleep when he was shot in the back of the head. Neither the prosecutors nor the jury believed Brown’s self-defense claim, and later, her fellow prison inmates went as far as to tell Brown that her story was “too perfect.”

Tried in adult court, Brown was convicted of murder and robbery and sentenced to 51 years under Tennessee’s mandatory sentencing guidelines. In 2017, Brown’s case blew up on social media with celebrities such as Amy Schumer, Kim Kardashian, Ashley Judd, LeBron James, and Rihanna coming to her defense, urging Tennessee governor Bill Haslam to commute Brown’s sentence and urging their millions of social media followers to also plead Brown’s case to Haslam.

A powerful 2011 documentary detailing Brown’s story also gained renewed interest. “Me Facing Life: The Cyntoia Brown Story” by Southern California Journalism Professor Daniel H. Birman, employing investigative journalism to dive deeper into the multitude of factors influencing Brown’s life.

The documentary chronicles Brown blossoming in prison, earning a college degree and becoming a compelling woman who impressed the lawyers and social workers she met, including one of the attorneys who fought to keep her behind bars, Preston Shipp, former prosecutor on the Brown case turned criminal justice reform advocate said, “Imprisoning people for decades, even after they have demonstrated rehabilitation, is a failure on the part of society to live up to our best values of redemption and second chances.”

Rob Touchstone, a Lipscomb University professor who went behind bars to teach Brown and other inmates at the Tennessee Prison for Women, got to know the woman behind the national news story. He described Brown as a changed woman: relentlessly focused, deeply contemplative, and devoted to doing good.

“She was one of the best students I’ve had the blessing of teaching,” Touchstone, whose private 3,000 student university is affiliated with the Churches of Christ, said. “She’s going to emerge as a leader. She’s not going to disappear.”

In January of this year, Haslam commuted Brown’s original 51 years to life sentence to 15 years, granting her clemency and scheduling for her release on August 7, 2019. “This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case,” a statement released from Haslam’s office read. “Transformation should be accompanied by hope.”

It has been a long road of self-improvement for Cyntoia Brown, but upon news of her sentence commutation, Brown gave a big smile and assured Haslam by proclaiming, “With God’s help, I am committed to live the rest of my life helping others, especially young people. My hope is to help other young girls avoid ending up where I have been.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Left
  • A Look Back at the Complex Cyntoia Brown Case

    Features

    Preparing for Semester Exams? Manage Time and Stress

  • A Look Back at the Complex Cyntoia Brown Case

    Features

    Proper Treatment of School Shooting PTSD Can Save Lives

  • A Look Back at the Complex Cyntoia Brown Case

    Features

    Coping with Irrational Fears Is Possible with Therapy

  • A Look Back at the Complex Cyntoia Brown Case

    Features

    What If You Need 9-1-1, But It’s Too Dangerous to Speak?

  • A Look Back at the Complex Cyntoia Brown Case

    Features

    Cannabis-Based CBD Becoming A Part of Everyday Life

  • A Look Back at the Complex Cyntoia Brown Case

    Features

    Sleep Deprivation for Teenagers Often Carries Serious Consequences

  • A Look Back at the Complex Cyntoia Brown Case

    Features

    Current Curriculum Seem More Designed to Produce Test-Takers Than Life-Long Learners

  • A Look Back at the Complex Cyntoia Brown Case

    Features

    Private Universities: Weighing Costs Against Benefits

  • A Look Back at the Complex Cyntoia Brown Case

    Features

    Animal Rights Activists Continue the Fight Against Circus Animal Cruelty

  • A Look Back at the Complex Cyntoia Brown Case

    Features

    The “Tampon Tax” Effect Extends to Public Schools, Including Palm Beach County

Navigate Right
The award-winning student news site of Olympic Heights High School
A Look Back at the Complex Cyntoia Brown Case