After 15 years, the day has come, and Cyntoia Brown has been released from a Tennessee prison after being granted clemency in January from former Republican Governor Bill Haslam.
Brown was officially released early Wednesday morning, according to a press release sent at 3:30 a.m. local time, according to ABC News
“Early this morning offender Cyntoia Denise Brown was released from the Tennessee Prison for Women,” the Nashville District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “Per the commutation, Brown has now been released to parole supervision.”
Brown, who has requested to “leave the prison and seek some time for privacy and transition,” says she will make no public appearances for now. She will spend the first few days adhering to the conditions of her release.
For the next ten years, Brown will be on supervised parole and must have regular check-ins, participate in counseling sessions, find employment, and adhere to all state and federal laws, reports CBS News. Any violation will have her sent straight back to prison.
Part of the reason Haslam granted Brown clemency is that he believed she had used her time in prison wisely by completing a GED program and nearly finishing coursework (she has one course to finish) for a Bachelor’s degree at Lipscomb University.
Now that she’s out, Brown will go directly to a transition center to live where she can complete her degree, according to a release provided by the Tennessee Department of Correction.
Brown’s attorneys had always contended that she was a sex trafficking victim when she was convicted in 2006 of murdering 43-year old, Nashville real estate agent, Johnny Allen. She was sentenced to life in prison.
Brown never disputed murdering Allen and admitted to shooting him at close range in the back of the head. However, her attorneys contend that Allen picked her up a Sonic restaurant to have sex with her and Brown fatally shot Allen because he was acting erratically. Since Brown’s mother drank while pregnant, she may have suffered from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which Brown’s attorneys argued can impair one’s judgment and mental state. She was only 14-years old at the time of the murder.
Now, at 31-years old, Brown is getting a second chance at life.
“When her story is told in much greater detail, the words which describe her success include redemption, education, rehabilitation, salvation, mercy, and freedom,” said Brown’s lead attorney, Charles W. Bone in the statement.
“We will all rejoice with her on August 7 and in the days to come.”
Photo credit: Lacy Atkins /The Tennessean via AP, Pool