NASHVILLE, Tenn. - More than 200,000 people have signed a petition asking Governor Bill Haslam to release Nashville inmate Cyntoia Brown. Brown was sentenced to life in prison after she shot and killed a man who bought her for sex when she was only 16 years old.
"I think there are still people who don't see her as a victim because they think she made the choice to be out there and put herself in that situation," said Brown's former public defender Kathy Sinback. "But when you look at all the factors that led her to that place, she was being victimized by an older man who was her pimp, who was beating her, threatening her, and abusing her emotionally, physically, and sexually. I think most people would not be able to protect themselves in those situations if they were 16 years old."
Brown has served 13 years in prison and has expressed remorse for her actions, but advocates said it's time she's treated as a sex trafficking victim, not a criminal.
"She has demonstrated her remorse for what she did and has dedicated herself to an education," said attorney Charles Bone, who has represented Brown pro bono for seven years. "We think it’s time for her to be considered for a drastically reduced sentence."
Celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna have posted their support for Brown on social media.
The system has failed. It’s heart breaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life! We have to do better & do what’s right. I’ve called my attorneys yesterday to see what can be done to fix this. #FreeCyntoiaBrown pic.twitter.com/73y26mLp7u— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) November 21, 2017
Bone has planned plans to petition Governor Haslam for clemency in Brown's case within the next few weeks.