In 2017, celebrities like Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Cara Delevingne came to the defence of a young girl named Cyntoia Brown. She was a runaway who was forced into prostitution, by her pimp boyfriend. She then was linked to a murder of a 43 year old man. Is she a murderer or a victim? This is the story of Cyntoia Brown, how the social media blew up about her, what she actually did, how she was convicted, and the effect she left on the laws of Tennessee.
Everyone defends Cyntoia Brown, but do they know what actually happened. Cyntoia Brown’s story starts troubled since she was a baby. Her biological mother was a drug addict and frequently used drugs during her pregnancy with Cyntoia. When Cyntoia was born, her biological mother was not able to take care of her, so at the age of two her mother gave her up for adoption. That led to Ellenette Brown taking care of her. Unlike her biological mother Ellenette was in a good position to raise a child. Over the years everything was fine, Cyntoia was raised very well, but she had trouble with her adoptive dad. At times she Cyntoia would experience physical abuse from her dad, and would watch her father abuse her adoptive mother. She did not have a very bright childhood which caused her always to be distraught. As she grew up things got worse and out of hand. “Cyntoia was exposed to a rough youth culture at the alternative schools where the district placed her. She started smoking marijuana regularly and skipping school. She was in and out of secure facilities…(Hargrove)” After she left from home everything went south for her. She met this pimp called “Kut-Throat” and starting living with him. According to Cyntoia, he would sexually assault her, physically abuse her, and force her out in the streets to work as a prostitute, Cyntoia was only 16 years old. After two or three weeks of living with “Kut-Throat”, experiencing a lot of abuse, she meets this 43 year old client who took her to her home. “...she said she felt afraid by his odd behavior, telling a judge he kept getting up and standing over her (Hayes)...” Cyntoia said that his behavior was weird and unusual but she never defined what seemed strange to her. After some time of experiencing Johnny Allen’s strange behavior which was unspecified by Cyntoia, Cyntoia shot him on the back of the head, claiming it as self-defense. She called 911 anonymously to report the murder. She then robbed his wallet, pants, and some of his guns and went back to “Kut-Throat”. She then was caught by the police and put to trial.
At trial the prosecutors decided she was to be tried as an adult even though she was underage. The trial continued to many hearings and sessions, that included her biological and adoptive family to confess in court. Another very interesting detail about her trial is that psychologists and psychiatrists were included in the investigation. Their job during the trial was to test Cyntoia’s sanity. They found out some mental disorders in relation to her troubled past and the genetics she inherited from her biologicals mother side. The psychiatrist, (Dr.William Bernet) and Cyntoia’s biological mother said in court that, Cyntoia contains some forms bipolarism, depression, and suicidal and homicidal thoughts inherited from her past and her mother. (Birman). During these hearings the court tried Cyntoia for aggravated robbery, first degree premeditated murder, and first degree felony murder. After many sessions in trial Cyntoia was found guilty by the jury for all 3 charges and sentenced to life with ability to parole when she is 69 years of age. According to the case files this harsh sentence was mostly given because she was found guilty with the charge of aggravated robbery. Cyntoia also appealed many times the decision of the court but she never succeeded. After the trial Cyntoia’s case had a massive effect on the law in Tennessee about trying children as adults for prostitution. After some months the law changed, and in the state of Tennessee children could not be tried as adults for the charges of prostitution.
In November of last year many celebrities defended the case of Cyntoia Brown. They posted all over social media a brief description of what had happened to this young girl. As an effect of the millions of followers they have immediately the public started signing petitions, and started hashtagging “#FreeCyntoiaBrown”. Everyone was questioning the Tennessee laws and judicial system. The public opinion changed to wanting the State of Tennessee to free her. “This week, the case of a woman named Cyntoia Brown went viral on social media, even though she has already been in jail for more than ten years (AJ Willingham).” As CNN said this case has been closed for a little more than a decade now, why are these people all of a sudden making a big deal? Why didn’t they do something before? Do they know that there more than 1,000 cases like this yearly in the US. The reasons of why her case became publicly known now are unknown. As all the celebrities started posting this one after the other. The social media blow up has caused for this case to be remembered again, this has caused things to move in this case once more.
This case is truly special, in the way things happened, how the trial went, the unusual sentence, and the sudden interest of the public after a decade. Certain things and details are still unexplained, and we still do not know what is for surely going to happen to Cyntoia Brown, but she still remains in jail, with the ability to parole after 40 years.