Today Cyntoia Brown, who had been sentenced to life in prison for killing the man she said trafficked her for sex, was granted clemency by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today after serving 15 years in prison.

“Brown was convicted in 2004 of the murder of Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old man who allegedly bought her and was trafficking her for sex. She was tried as an adult in the case, convicted, and sentenced when she was 16 years old.

Brown’s case gained attention in 2017 thanks to social media posts by celebrities, including Kim Kardashian and Rihanna, calling for her release. She was also the subject of a 2011 documentary called ‘Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story.'”1

Kardashian, praised Haslam’s clemency, tweeting:

Haslam said in part, “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.” 2 (During her time in prison, Brown received her GED and is expected to get her bachelor’s degree this year.) The decision to grant Brown clemency is one of the outgoing Republican governor’s final acts.

In a statement released by her attorneys, Brown said,

“Thank you, Governor Haslam, for your act of mercy in giving me a second chance. I will do everything I can to justify your faith in me.”3

She also went on to say she was grateful for all the support, prayers, and encouragement she has received, including from Tennessee Department of Corrections officials.4

Although granted a full pardon and eligible for release on Aug. 7 (after serving 15 years in prison) she will remain on parole for 10 years.



  1. ABC News
  2. NBC News