Cyntoia Brown is now a free woman 15 years after she was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man who solicited her for sex when she was a teenager.
Brown, 31, was released from the Tennessee Prison for Women early Wednesday after former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam commuted her sentence on January 7, according to the Tennessee Department of Correction.
“Per the commutation, Brown has now been released to parole supervision,” the Department of Correction said in a statement it released Wednesday.
She was 16 years old when she was convicted in 2006. That was two years after the 2004 death of Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old real estate broker who solicited her for sex. She testified at trial that she shot Allen because she feared he was about to kill her when he suddenly reached to one side of his bed as the two of them were reclined on it. At the time of Allen’s death, she was 14 years old.
She said in an amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus that ABC News obtained that 24-year-old Garion “Kutthroat” McGlothen forced her to have sex with multiple men before his death.
McGlothen died in 2005, before Brown was given a mandatory life sentence with the possibility of parole starting in 2057.
Brown’s story was the subject of a 2011 documentary called “Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story,” but her case didn’t garner national attention until 2017, when celebrities Snoop Dogg, Kim Kardashian and Rihanna called for the imprisoned woman’s release.
She released this statement to the media about her recent release:
“While first giving honor to God who made all of this possible, I would also like to thank my many supporters who have spoken on my behalf and prayed for me.
“I’m blessed to have a very supportive family and friends to support me in the days to come. I look forward to using my experiences to help other women and girls suffering abuse and exploitation.
“I thank Governor and First Lady Haslam for their vote of confidence in me and with the Lord’s help I will make them as well as the rest of my supporters proud.”
As conditions of her release, she must remain employed or enrolled in school, comply with an approved release plan, participate in counseling sessions and maintain a “regular commitment” to community service, according to the Department of Correction.