News December 17, 2018 at 11:00 am

Activists fighting to free Cyntoia Brown now turn to Tennessee governor for clemency

Nduta Waweru December 17, 2018 at 11:00 am

December 17, 2018 at 11:00 am | News

Photo: Chattoday

The case of Cyntoia Brown has been a matter of interest for a long time. It made headlines a few days ago after the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that she would need to spend 51 years in prison before she was up for parole.

Now, the Governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, is considering clemency for Brown before he leaves office in January 2019. Activists across the country are now pressuring the governor to see this through.

Brown, born in January 1988, was a victim of sexual abuse as a child. Her assailant, Garion McGlothen, repeatedly beat her up and raped her. He also pimped her. 

Brown came into contact with Johnny Mitchell Allen, a 43-year-old  man who solicited her for sex and drove her to his house, where she shot him. Although she was 16 at the time, she was tried as an adult and sentenced to jail for life in 2006.

During the trial, Brown revealed that McGlothen had sold her to Allen and that she had killed the latter in self-defence, fearing that he would attack and kill her. She also took some money from Allen to take back to McGlothen.

The prosecution countered, saying that she had gone with Allen with the intent of robbing him.  She was found guilty of first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree felony murder, and especially aggravated robbery.

Her case has made headlines on and off over the years, getting the attention of celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West. 

In May 2018,  the Tennessee board was split in its recommendation to Governor Haslam on granting Brown clemency.  The voted ended with two pro-clemency, two against and two to make Brown eligible for parole after 25 years.

On December 2018, a five-member bench of the Tennessee Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Brown must serve 51 years in jail for her crime. It said, “under state law, a life sentence is a determinate sentence of 60 years. However, the sixty-year sentence can be reduced by up to 15 per cent, or 9 years, by earning various sentence credits.”

As Governor Haslam is considering clemency, Brown’s case is pending judgement by the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Meanwhile, petitions have been set up to call for clemency for Brown. 

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