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Friday, August 9, 2019

The Cyntoia Brown Murder Case

     In 2004, in Nashville, Tennessee, 43-year-old pimp Johnny Allen turned a 14-year-old runaway named Cyntoia Brown into one of his working girls. (The young prostitute's mother had allegedly consumed alcohol during her pregnancy which resulted in Cyntoia Brown's mental impairment. This made the girl particularly vulnerable to sex trade child abusers like Johnny Allen.)

     One nightmare ended for Cyntoia Brown and another began when, in 2004, she killed her pimp by shooting him in the back of the head at close range. She had intended to rob him.

     The authorities, in 2006, tried Cyntoia Brown for first-degree murder as an adult. The jury rejected the defendant's claim of self-defense and found her guilty as charged. The trial judge sentenced the 16-year-old to 51 years to life in prison.

     In 2012, the United States Supreme Court ruled that states could not impose life sentences for juveniles convicted of murder.

     In January 2019, then Governor Bill Haslam granted Cyntoia Brown clemency. The move to commute her sentence had been supported by a number of Hollywood celebrities who had taken up her cause.

     Cyntoia Brown, in August 2019, was released from prison after serving 15 years behind bars. As part of her release arrangement, she would be subjected to supervised parole. Given the circumstances of this case, the commutation of Cyntoia Brown did not create public outrage.

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