Sara Kruzen was one of 17 pardons Governor Gavin Newsom issued on Friday.
Kruzan was 17 when she was sentenced to die in prison in 1995 for the 1994 murder of the man she said had sexually abused her and sex trafficked her starting when she was just 13 years old, CBS News reported.
Kruzan was tried as an adult for the murder of George G. Howard, 36, who she says tried to sexually assault her at a motel in Riverside. Kruzan had shot Howard in the neck, stole $1,500 of his cash and fled the scene in his sportscar, according to USA Today.
Her story became a talking point and celebrities like Demi Moore and Mira Sorvina lobbied for her release, according to reports.
Her sentence was later commuted by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to 25 years with the possibility of parole. She was eventually released in 2013 and has since become an advocate for prison reform, according to USA Today.
On Friday, Newsom wrote in his pardon of Kruzan that she has "transformed her life and dedicated herself to community service. This act of clemency for Ms. Kruzan does not minimize or forgive her conduct or the harm it caused. It does recognize the work she has done since to transform herself."
Kruzan spoke to the Los Angeles Times Saturday and said she was relieved by the governor’s decision, saying it is “releasing these invisible chains that I didn’t realize were still taloned in [me].”
She also told the Los Angeles Times that the pardon will help her move forward, heal and can now focus on being a mother to her daughter. She also added that she hopes her situation will “have a ripple effect for others who identify with different elements of what I experienced,” she told the outlet.
Kruzan was one of 17 pardons Newsom issued on Friday.