Cyntoia Brown walked free from a Tennessee prison early Wednesday after serving 15 years behind bars for the murder of a man she testified bought her for sex when she was a teenager.
“Early this morning offender Cyntoia Brown was released the Tennessee Prison for Women,” the Tennessee Department of Correction said in a statement around 3:30 a.m. local time.
Brown was only 16 when she fatally shot and killed 43-year-old Johnny Mitchell Allen, of Nashville, in 2004. She was tried as an adult and convicted on charges of first-degree murder, first degree felony murder and aggravated robbery.
Her sentence demanded that she serve at least 51 years behind bars before becoming eligible for parole – but she was granted clemency in January by then-Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
His decision came after her case drew the attention of A-list celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West as well as other high-profile lawmakers, attorneys and criminal justice reform advocates.