Cyntoia Brown was 16 years old in 2004 when she shot and killed Johnny Mitchell Allen, 43, in self-defense. She thought he was reaching for a gun after he tried to solicit her for sex. Prosecutors have argued she wanted to rob Allen, not defend herself. After being tried as an adult, Brown was convicted of first-degree murder in 2006. Due to outrage on social media, and attention from Rihanna and Kim Kardashian, her story went viral and her case went to the Tennessee Supreme Court. A ruling was made on Thursday.
CNN.com reports, “On Thursday the court said defendants like Cyntoia Brown, who are convicted of first-degree murder committed after July 1, 1995, and sentenced to life imprisonment, can’t become eligible for release from prison before serving more than five decades. The court’s five justices were unanimous in their decision against Brown.”
The Tennessee Supreme Court explained their ruling in a statement that read in part “under state law, a life sentence is a determinate sentence of 60 years. However, the sixty-year sentence can be reduced by up to 15 percent, or 9 years, by earning various sentence credits.”
There is still a little hope left. Brown’s case pending judgment in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
At her clemency hearing back in May, Brown said, “I can’t say that I deserve or I’m entitled to anything because I’m not. I wasn’t even entitled to this hearing. You showed me grace in giving me this hearing. I just pray that you will see through everything that’s been shown today, that I won’t disappoint you. I’m not going to let you down.”
There has been an out pour of support on social media. See a few below: