Fourteen years after she killed a 43-year-old man at the age of 16, Cyntoia Brown learned this week that she will spend at least 51 years behind bars before she could be granted parole.
The decision came following a lawsuit on her behalf based on a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court opinion that it is unconstitutional to hand down mandatory life sentences to juveniles.
It was the Tennessee Supreme Court that ruled this week on the case, determining that Brown is among a class of defendants convicted of first-degree murder after July 1, 1995, who must serve 85 percent of their sentences before they can be considered for early release.
In that state, a life sentence is equal to 60 years in prison.
As the court ruled, that sentence “can be reduced by up to 15 percent, or 9 years, by earning various sentence credits.”
Among the ways Brown can earn such credits is participation in educational and job-related programs.
According to CNN, her case has been the topic of social media discussion by celebrities including Kim Kardashian West and Rihanna.
She was sentenced to life in prison more than a decade ago and said she was working as an underage prostitute when she shot and killed a john, Johnny Mitchell Allen, after he solicited her for sex and drove her to his residence.
Prosecutors described the crime as a deadly robbery and she was tried as an adult.
Earlier this year, a Tennessee parole board was split upon considering whether to grant her clemency, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
[Feature Photo: Cyntoia Brown via YouTube/Screenshot]