An American woman serving a life sentence for murdering a man who paid her for sex as a teen has been granted clemency after celebrities including Rihanna and Kim Kardashian fought for her release.
Tennessee governor Bill Haslam said he would show mercy to Cyntoia Brown, 30, by releasing her on August 7. She will remain on parole for 10 years.
Brown said in a statement that she will do everything to justify Mr Haslam’s faith in her and thanked her family for their support.
Rihanna and other celebrities have previously voiced their support for Brown and Kim Kardashian West tweeted “thank you Governor Haslam” after the clemency was announced.
Brown has been fighting her life sentence for the 2004 murder of a man who paid her for sex and showed her a collection of guns after she was allegedly forced into prostitution. She was 16 years old when she shot him dead.
She told police she had been living in hotels for a number of months with a man she referred to as “Cut-Throat.”
She went on to detail their physically and emotionally abusive relationship, referencing how he repeatedly called her a “whore” and that nobody would want her “but him.”
Brown claims he eventually forced her into prostitution. Her lawyers said she was a sex trafficking victim and feared for her life.
Despite her age, Brown was tried in adult court. Prosecutors argued that her real motive was robbery, since she took Allen’s wallet after she murdered him.
Brown was charged with first-degree felony murder and aggravated robbery and sentenced to two concurrent life sentences.
Lawmakers have since pointed out the laws in Tennessee have changed since Brown was first convicted.
According to the New York Times, under trafficking laws and laws governing juvenile offenders now in place in Tennessee, it would have been more difficult for Brown to have been tried as an adult.
Her life story and the criminal justice system in the United States
It details her life with a past dominated by violence at the hands of men.
The case was thrust into the spotlight after celebrities such as Rihanna calling for her release.
Sharing a picture of Cyntoia on her Instagram, Rihanna wrote: “Something is horribly wrong when the system enables these rapists and the victim is thrown away for life!
“To each of your responsible for this child’s sentence I hope to God you don’t have children, because this could be your daughter being punished for punishing already!”