Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced Monday that he has granted Cyntoia Brown clemency and said she will be released from prison on Aug. 7 after serving 15 years behind bars.
“Ms. Brown has taken steps to rebuild her life. Transformation should be accompanied by hope. So, I am commuting Ms. Brown’s sentence, subject to certain conditions,” Haslam said in a statement.
In a statement, Brown thanked Haslam and said she will do everything to justify his faith in her. She also thanked her family for their support.
In 2004, a then-16-year-old Brown was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of John Allen, whom she fatally shot after she said he solicited her for sex. Her defense lawyers argued that Brown had been forced into prostitution and feared for her life when she killed Allen.
A jury ultimately sentenced her to life in prison, sparking outrage among many. A 2011 PBS documentary entitled “Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story” brought the case to national attention, and celebrities and advocates began rallying on her behalf.
News of her clemency was celebrated by many.
“Shout out to the people that used their voice...it really matters!” rapper Meek Mill wrote in part on Instagram.
The NAACP tweeted, “Thank you to everyone that used their voice to support Cyntoia Brown who was granted full clemency.”
Kim Kardashian-West tweeted, “Thank you Governor Haslam.”
After her release, Brown will remain on parole for 10 years.