Cyntoia Brown will have to spend 51 years in prison before she is eligible for release following a murder conviction.
At the age of 16, Brown was sentenced to life in prison after killing Johnny Mitchell Allen, 43, who at the time was soliciting her for sex. Brown fatally shot Allen for fear that he would kill her. On Thursday, five court justices unanimously decided against Brown, and now she will have to serve at least 51 more years of her lifelong sentence before she is eligible for release.
This decision comes despite years of attempts from Brown to have her case overturned, arguing that her penalty is unconstitutional, citing a 2012 opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court that said mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders violate the U.S. Constitution.
Unfortunately, that appeal was rejected, and Brown, now 30, subsequently contended her punishment was “cruel and unusual” under the same 2012 ruling. The second appeal is still pending the consideration of the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to give its opinion on whether Brown could be paroled for her murder conviction.
“Under state law, a life sentence is a determinate sentence of 60 years. However, the sixty-year sentence can be reduced by up to 15 percent, or 9 years, by earning various sentence credits” for good behavior and participation in educational and vocational training, the Tennessee Supreme Court decided, People Magazine reports.