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Tennessee Juvenile Murderer’s Sentence Commuted

Brown was only 16 years old in 2004 when she was picked up by Michael Allen, a 43-year-old real estate broker and pillar of his church. Allen was known to the various teenage waitresses at a local restaurant who disliked serving him because of his lewd remarks.

Allen allegedly offered Brown $150 to have sex with him, then took her to his home. Brown testified that during Allen’s attempt to assault her, she shot him in the back of the head with the .40-caliber pistol Kutthroat had given her for her protection.

Brown was certified as an adult by a juvenile court judge shortly after and went to trial in 2004. She was ultimately convicted of first-degree murder, felony murder and aggravated robbery. She was sentenced to life imprisonment with a parole eligibility date in 2055. She would be 67 years old by then.

During her time in prison, Brown earned her GED with a high percentile score. She went on to earn an associate’s degree with a 4.0 GPA. She never denied shooting Allen but nonetheless kept her hopes high on her appeals. She met and married Christian rap artist Jamie Long. The two were married just as the last of Brown-Long’s appeals ran out. A federal post-conviction review proceeding opened on a technicality and a question of state law concerning her case was submitted to Tennessee’s Supreme Court by the presiding federal judge.

During this period of time, a groundswell of supporters arose, seeking a clemency grant for Brown-Long from the governor. Prominent among this group was Kim Kardashian-West, who is making quite a reputation and name for herself by championing those downtrodden by both federal and state corrupt judicial practices. [PLN, March 2020, p. 27]

Those clemency efforts proved successful. On January 7, 2019, Governor Bill Haslam commuted Brown-Long’s sentence from life to 15 years with 10 years of supervised release. She was released from prison on August 7, 2019. Her memoir, Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System, was released on October 15, 2019. Netflix released a documentary called Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story on April 29, 2020. 



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