Cyntoia Brown released after 15 years in prison

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After 15 years, the day has come, and Cyntoia Brown has been released from a Tennessee prison after being granted clemency in January from former Republican Governor Bill Haslam.

Due in part to outrage on social media and attention from celebrities including Rihanna and Kim Kardashian, Brown's story went viral.

"I thank Governor and First Lady Haslam for their vote of confidence in me", she said, "and with the Lord's help I will make them as well as the rest of my supporters proud".

Cyntoia Brown, a woman serving a life sentence for killing a man when she was a 16-year-old prostitute, smiles at family members during her clemency hearing at Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville. Although investigators initially claimed Brown shot Allen during an attempted robbery, she always maintained her innocence and said she shot him out of fear.

Her initial sentence required that she serve at least 51 years before she would eligible for parole. She earned her GED and completed university studies as an inmate.

Cyntoia Brown has been released from prison early after receiving a life sentence for killing a captor after being forced into prostitution as a child.

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"I want to thank those at the Tennessee Department of Corrections who saw something in me worth salvaging, especially Ms. Connie Seabrooks for allowing me to participate in the Lipscomb LIFE Program", Brown said.

Attorneys working on behalf of Brown also petitioned the state's parole board to commute her sentence, citing her experiences as a sex trafficking victim and adversities during her childhood. Now, filmmaker Dan Birman has confirmed that Netflix will release a documentary about Brown's life.

Brown testified at her trial that at 16 she was solicited for sex by Johnny Mitchell Allen.

The book, Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System, is scheduled to be published on October 15. Kardashian highlighted the case to President Donald Trump in a meeting in May.

According to Brown's testimony, she believed Allen reached for a weapon, which intimidated her and led to his subsequent murder.

"This victory belongs to Cyntoia, her community, and to the thousands of people including local organizers and advocates who stepped in to demand justice", said online racial justice organization Color of Change on Twitter on Wednesday. They are not even grown up enough to have a brain to make those kind of choices and yet they can be brought into the criminal justice system and just get on that treadmill of incarceration and more violence. Allen picked her up at a Nashville Sonic restaurant and bought her food and then took her home where the murder occurred. "My hope is to help other young girls avoid ending up where I have been".