Cyntoia Brown granted clemency

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Cyntoia Brown stands trial as an adult even though she was just 15 years old at the time.

The day before the first gathering of the 111th General Assembly, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said Monday he was granting clemency to Cyntoia Brown.

If you remember the story which has been making headlines again lately, the 30-year-old Brown, said in 2004, she was forced into prostitution and scared for her life when she shot Nashville real estate Johnny Allen.

Haslam's announcement, which was quickly met with praise from Democrats, comes less than two weeks before he exits office. He is also in the midst of weighing a possible bid for the U.S. Senate in 2020.

"This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case," Haslam said.

In 2004, Brown killed Johnny Mitchell Allen, who Brown said had solicited her for sex and taken her back to his house. Prosecutors at the time said Brown shot Allen in the head while he was sleeping, stole money and guns, took his truck, and fled the scene. They argued the killing wasn't motivated by self-defense, but robbery.

Brown said she was scared for her life by Allen's behavior, and took money for fear of returning empty-handed to her pimp, nicknamed "Cut Throat."

A juvenile court found Brown competent to be tried as an adult. She was convicted of murder and robbery, and sentenced to life in prison.

Though more than a decade had passed since her trial, the harsh punishment for a teenage victim of sex trafficking sparked outrage around the US -- particularly after celebrities Rihanna and Kardashian West came to her defense on social media in 2017. She would not have been eligible for parole until she had served for 51 years.