*Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam says his office is reviewing the case of Cyntoia Brown, the young woman serving life in prison for killing a man when she was 16.
The Tennessee Supreme Court last week ruled that Brown would have to serve at least 51 years in prison for the 2004 killing before she’s eligible for release. But after outrage on social media and support from celebs like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian, Gov. Haslam is now reviewing her case and says he will have an answer before he leaves office in six weeks.
“We are in the midst of reviewing Cyntoia’s case,” Haslam said at an event Monday night.
“We’ll hopefully have a decision — I’m just here for six more weeks, so it’ll be before that,” he said, according toa video of the event posted online by The Tennessean. “But we’re doing our best to review every aspect of that, talking to everybody involved, just like we are with several other — I wouldn’t say exactly similar cases — but somewhat similar cases.”
When Brown was 16, she was raped and forced into prostitution by a pimp and that’s how she met 43-year-old Johnny Mitchell Allen. He took her back to his house after soliciting her for sex. Prosecutors argued that Brown intended to rob Allen when she killed him, but her lawyers insisted that she shot him in self-defense because she feared he was going to hurt her.
Brown claims she only took money from Allen’s wallet because she was afraid of returning to her pimp boyfriend without it. She was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison.
Haslam’s office is reviewing “a lot” of clemency cases, and last week’s ruling by the state Supreme Court won’t affect his decision, he said.