About 13 years ago, an interaction with a 43 year old man changed Cyntoia Brown’s life forever. She was only 16 years old when she shot and killed Johnny Allen; as a result, she is currently serving life in the Tennessee Prison for Women.
Although, homicide is a heinous crime that should not go unpunished, there are many factors to Brown’s case that were, seemingly, not taken into consideration during her trial back in 2004. First of all, Brown had lived a life filled with distress and abuse from a very young age. She was born to a teen mother who continued to drink and take drugs even while pregnant with Brown. She was eventually placed in foster care, but that didn’t change the fact that she was denied love, care, and protection for the majority of her life.
Criminals with mental problems should definitely not be exempted from the law, but their mental issues should be taken into consideration and there should be appropriate systems put in place to help them. It is clear that this didn’t happen in Brown’s case.
Brown’s childhood greatly impacted her emotional growth, in a negative way. She ended up entering a life of drugs and getting into relationships with abusive men. She became a runaway, due to her horrible childhood. Brown was living on the streets and was forced into prostitution so she could make enough money for her abusive boyfriend. In fact, Johnny Allen, the man she killed, was one of her clients.
It’s important to understand that Brown believed her life was in danger when she killed Allen. She testified that she and Allen agreed to meet up in a local hotel, but he brought her to his home instead; she felt “uneasy” in Allen’s home and that he even showed her the gun collection he had in his house. When he reached beside his bed, she thought he was reaching for a gun, and took out a gun she had for protection and shot him. After shooting him, she took some more weapons and fled, then, later called 911.
Johnny Allen was committing a sex crime by picking up and underage girl. Brown should’ve been charged for manslaughter, instead of first degree murder, since she had no prior intention of killing Allen. She killed Allen in self defense, which should’ve, at least, mitigated her sentence.
Cyntoia Brown was 16 years old when she committed manslaughter in an act of self defense, but was still tried as an adult, which gave her a much more severe sentence.
There are many more similar cases, but you can help fix at least one by signing this petition to give Cyntoia a new trial: https://www.change.org/p/robert-e-cooper-jr-give-cyntoia-brown-a-new-trial-197246b0-f9b8-4cbf-ac81-fe13bb4bc554. Where is the “justice” in the Justice System if a young, emotionally troubled, girl has to unfairly serve life in prison without any possible ways of rehabilitation?