A Tennessee parole board was divided on Wednesday after hearing an emotional three-hour testimony regarding clemency for Cyntoia Brown, a woman serving a life sentence for murder after she killed a “john” she was set up with for sex at age 16.
The Tennessean reports that the six-panel parole board split three ways after hearing Brown’s case, with two people recommending clemency, two others voting to deny clemency, and the last two voting to allow Brown parole after serving 51 years of her life sentence.
“There are people here today and they are hurting 14 years later and I did that and I can’t fix that. I can’t fix that,” Brown said, while apologizing to the loved ones of the victim on Wednesday. “I am a changed person because I had no choice but to be. If I were to get out today, it would still be the same. There would still be something I’ve done that I can’t undo.”
The final decision on whether Brown is granted clemency lies in the hand of Governor Bill Haslam. So far, Haslam hasn’t granted anyone clemency during his two terms as governor.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Brown filed an appeal for a murder conviction after she killed Johnny Mitchell Allen, 43, in 2004. Allen was reportedly also a “john” who took Brown to his house after her abusive pimp boyfriend set her up for sex trafficking. Brown claimed Allen was being abusive and scared for her life, she picked up his gun and shot him to death.
Parole board divided on clemency bid by Cyntoia Brownhttps://t.co/xs6w1rlOar
— Josiah Neville Bates (@JosiahBates) May 23, 2018
Brown previously stated that her early childhood was filled with abuse and watching adults partake in drugs. She was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and her mother, Georgina Mitchell, allegedly began using crack cocaine when Brown was around eight months old, according to a 2011 documentary about Brown, entitled “Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story.”
When Brown was a toddler, Mitchell gave her up for adoption to a woman named Ellenette Brown. While Ellenette Brown provided a more stable home than her mother did, Brown never developed the stability she needed in her life, according to the documentary, and as a teen, ran away from home.
Brown made her way to Nashville, where an alleged pimp by the name of “Kutthroat” or “Cut-throat” quickly figured out that she was a runaway and on her own. He recruited her in with false promises of a better life, but eventually began calling her a “who**” and demeaning. He later allegedly raped her, molested her, and trafficked her for sex. The forced prostitution eventually landed her at Allen’s home after she met him at a Sonic fast food restaurant.
“He [Kutthroat] would explain to me that some people were born who***, and that I was one, and I was a slut, and nobody’d want me but him, and the best thing I could do was just learn to be a good who**,” Brown said to a judge a during a previous 2012 appeal hearing.
Brown said she met Allen on August 5, 2004, and right away had an uneasy feeling about him. She said Allen kept “standing over her,” and later, while they were both in bed, she saw him reach over for what she thought was a gun. Brown said she shot Allen, a former sharp shooter in the U.S. Army, in the head, after fearing for her life.
She took his two guns and his money before she fled his home. Brown ended up at a local Walmart, where she made an anonymous call to police and told them Allen had been shot. Prosecutors alleged her motive was robbery, and subsequently, she was sentenced to life in prison.
“Me Facing Life: The Cyntoia Brown Story” helped Brown gain national attention, but it wasn’t enough to sway a judge to grant her appeal. She’s earned a college degree while behind bars and is considered a model prisoner, but as of now, she remains at the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville with parole eligibility at age 69.
“[Cyntoia] was a victim of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. She was on the tail end of three generations of women being abused. Her birth mother had been raped and Cyntoia was born from that rape,” filmmaker Dan Birman, who made the documentary, told FOX News.
Celebrities including Rihanna, Snoop Dogg, Kim Kardashian, and LeBron James have all showed their support for Brown, typically on social media, where they demanded “justice” and answers.
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline for additional updates.
[Feature Photo: Cyntoia Brown via YouTube/Screenshot]