Brown says she was forced into prostitution before 2004 killing, and celebrities, including Rihanna, had called for her release
Cyntoia Brown has been released early from the Tennessee prison for women, where she was serving a life sentence for killing a man when she was 16 years old after being allegedly forced into prostitution.
Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna and other celebrities had lobbied for Browns release. She was granted clemency in January by the outgoing governor, Bill Haslam.
Now 31, Brown will remain on parole for 10 years, on the condition she does not violate any state or federal laws, holds a job and participates in regular counseling sessions, Haslams commutation says.
Brown released a statement on Monday saying she wants to help other women and girls suffering sexual abuse and exploitation.
I thank Governor and First Lady Haslam for their vote of confidence in me and with the Lords help I will make them as well as the rest of my supporters proud, she wrote.
Her attorneys said she was requesting privacy and transition time before she makes herself available to the public.
Brown was convicted in 2006 of murdering a 43-year-old Nashville real estate agent, Johnny Allen. Police said she shot Allen in the back of the head at close range with a gun she brought to rob him after he picked her up at a drive-in restaurant in Nashville to have sex with her.
The US supreme court has ruled against life-without-parole sentences for juveniles. But the state of Tennessee argued successfully in lower courts that Browns sentence was not in violation of federal law because she would be eligible for parole after serving at least 51 years.
Haslam said that was too harsh a condition for a crime Brown admitted to committing as a teen, especially given the steps she has taken to rebuild her life. She earned her GED and completed university studies as an inmate.
Brown met with prison counselors to design a plan for her release, which will include time in a transition center and continuing coursework with the Lipscomb University program, the state department of correction said in a news release.
Brown plans to have a book published in mid-October and a documentary about her is set to be released this year, the not-for-profit documentary film group Odyssey Impact and Daniel H Birman Productions Inc said in a news release earlier this year.
Brown ran away from her adoptive family in Nashville in 2004 and began living in a hotel with a man known as Cut Throat, who forced her to become a prostitute and verbally, physically and sexually assaulted her, according to court documents.
Browns lawyers contended she was a victim of sex trafficking who not only feared for her life but also lacked the mental capacity to be culpable in the slaying because she was impaired by her mothers alcohol use while she was in the womb.
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