Cyntoia Brown must serve at least 51 years in prison before she’s eligible for release for killing a Nashville man, who sought her out for sex when she was 16, says the Tennessee Supreme Court.
The five justices, who were unanimous in their decision, said on Thursday that defendants who were convicted of first-degree murder committed after July 1, 1995 and sentenced to life in prison, won’t be eligible for parole before serving more than 50 years, according to CNN.
Brown was convicted of murdering a 43-year-old man in 2004 who took her into his house for sex. She claims that she killed him because she feared for her life, per CNN.
Brown had filed suit saying that her sentence violated the constitution, citing a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision that stated that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders were unconstitutional.
“Under state law, a life sentence is a determinate sentence of 60 years. However, the sixty-year sentence can be reduced by up to 15 percent, or 9 years, by earning various sentence credits,” the court said in its statement Thursday.
Brown’s case gained national attention in 2017 after celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Rihanna called for Brown’s release.
According to CNN, Brown recounted during her trial that she retrieved a gun from a cabinet in the man’s room and shot and killed him when he reportedly reached underneath his bed. Brown said she thought he was going to kill her
Prosecutors alleged at a clemency hearing in May that Brown killed the Tennessee man to rob him.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.