It’s the news of the day. Cyntoia Brown, the sex trafficking victim who was sentenced to life in prison after killing the man who solicited her for sex when she was only 16, will finally be released after being granted clemency from Tennesse Gov. Bill Haslam.
Brown will be released to parole supervision on Aug. 7, 2019, and her sentence will expire on Aug. 7, 2029, a far cry from the fate she faced when the Tennessee Supreme Court originally ruled that she would not be eligible for parole until she had served 51 years in prison, or in other words, until 2055.
In the midst of this good news, NBC Nightly News will be airing an exclusive interview with Brown’s lawyers tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET, as part of its new “Justice for All” series, a criminal justice series focusing on unjust sentencing and unreliable convictions, highlighting the stories of the wrongfully accused and the new ways of seeking justice.
One of Brown’s lawyers, Edward Yarbrough told NBC News Correspondent Ron Allen that Brown’s “remarkable rehabilitation record” was likely one of the reasons why the governor ultimately decided to grant her clemency.
“I would have to say the strongest persuasive point with him was the remarkable rehabilitation record she showed. Very few people are able to retain that,” Yarbrough noted. “Some are good in school. Some could have good behavior. Some are able to help in the prison and help other people but she is the rare combination of all those things in one person.”
While in prison, Brown has earned her GED and completed an associate degree through Lipscomb LIFE program with a 4.0 GPA. She is one course away from completing a Bachelor’s degree at Lipscomb and is expected to finish that in May 2019.
And apparently, when news of her pending release came out, her lawyers couldn’t keep up with the suspense.
“When we walked in I happened to be first, so I hugged her and whispered in her ear, ‘You’re gonna get out in August,'” another attorney, Charles Bone, revealed. “I knew the suspense would be so great for all of us [and] that I couldn’t just kind of skate around it. We needed to deliver the message.”
So what happened when Brown heard the news?
“She did a little dance,” Bone said laughing.