At the young age of 16-years-old, Cyntoia Brown was sentenced to life in prison after fatally shooting 43-year-old Johnny Mitchell Allen. As a victim of sex-trafficking, Brown had been picked up by Allen for sex, and in self defense Brown shot and killed Allen.
According to her lawyers, Brown ran away from home to Nashville, Tennessee and ended up meeting a man known as “Kut Throat.” After living together for a short amount of time, Kut Throat began raping Brown and forced her into prostitution. In 2004, the year that Brown met Allen, Allen picked up Brown and took her back to his home where he showed her some of his firearms before the two proceeded to his bed. Brown noticed Allen reaching his arm under his bed, which made Brown believe he was reaching for a gun, so Brown took a gun out of her purse and fatally shot Allen. Brown then fled the scene, but not before stealing money and two firearms from Allen’s home.
Prosecutors claimed that the reason behind Brown’s lengthy sentence is that they believe the true motive behind the crime was robbery. In 2006, tried as an adult, Brown was sentenced to life in prison with a chance for parole when she is 69 years old. The charges were aggravated robbery and first-degree murder.
This murder and sentencing occurred over 13 years ago, so why is this case coming back into the spotlight? Well, after Rihanna supposedly saw a segment on Brown by a Nashville television station, she felt the need to speak out in an Instagram post. Other celebrities like LeBron James, Snoop Dogg and Kim Kardashian West have also begun speaking out against what they believe to be a wrongful sentencing. West posted the following on Twitter: “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”
Jeffery Burks, the prosecutor on the case, told FOX 17 News, “There has been a group of people who have wanted to make Ms. Brown a victim and a celebrity since this happened. She was not ‘trafficked’ nor was she a ‘sex slave.’ It’s not fair to the victim and his family that the other side of this case is so seldom heard.” On what planet was Cyntonia Brown not a victim of sex trafficking? Of course there are always two sides to every story, but the prosecutor had no right to claim she was not a victim of sex trafficking- because she was. By definition from The Department of Homeland Security, “Human trafficking (also known as sex trafficking) is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.” She was forced into prostitution by Kut Throat. I’m sorry, but that sounds a lot like sex trafficking to me.
Currently, Brown’s attorney, Charles Bone, and other members of his team are attempting to get Brown a new trial where her sentence can be shortened. Their attempts have been unsuccessful so far, but a habeas corpus petition is still pending in a federal court.