The true story of Cyntoia Brown from Netflix’s new documentary ‘Murder to Mercy’

She was jailed for life and celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Rihanna sought to expose her injustice


Netflix has just released a new crime documentary called Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown story.  The hour and a half film explores the true story of what happened to Cyntoia Brown when she was found guilty of first degree murder.

Cyntoia’s case soon gained traction as being a huge miscarriage of justice. She was sentenced to life despite being only 16-years-old and a victim of sexual abuse who was said to be acting out of self defence. Celebrities such as Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and Drake supported her on social media, promoting a movement to have her freed from prison.

Here’s Cyntoia Brown’s full story.

Cyntoia Brown, Murder To Mercy, Netflix, true story, real, events, documentary, court, jail, sentence, case, what happened

Cyntoia Brown in jail, via Netflix

The true story of Cyntoia Brown involves her being sentenced to life for first degree murder

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story on Netflix explores the true events in the life of Cyntoia Brown Long. In 2004, when she was just 16-years-old, Cyntoia shot and killed Johnny Allen. She never denied committing the crime, but said she killed him out of fear he was going to shoot her. Cyntoia Brown had been victim of sexual abuse, it was heard in court.

Cyntoia Brown was born in 1988 in Kentucky. Her mother was an alcoholic who drank during the pregnancy, causing Cyntoia to be born with fetal alcohol syndrome, which impaired her brain development. She was later adopted into a family in Tennessee, but ran away from home.

Cyntoia Brown, Murder To Mercy, Netflix, true story, real, events, documentary, court, jail, sentence, case, what happened

In court, via Netflix

At 16, it was said that Cyntoia was living with a “pimp” in a hotel room. Cyntoia’s lawyers say the pimp, nicknamed “Kut-Throat”, sexually assaulted her and forced her into prostitution. The pimp had given her a gun to protect herself from potentially dangerous clients.

The court for Cyntoia’s murder trial was told that in 2004 Allen had solicited Cyntoia and paid her $150 to have sex with him. According to court documents, Allen had began to act “weirdly” and was showing Cyntoia guns that he owned. During the encounter, it is alleged that Allen reached over the bed to grab something, which Cyntoia believed was one of the guns. Cyntoia then said that, fearing her was going to turn the gun on her, she shot him with the gun she had.

Cyntoia rang police to report the shooting. She is said to have feared what would happen to her if she returned to the pimp empty handed, so she stole some of the guns Allen had showed her and money. Prosecutors claimed the murder was pre-meditated as part of a plan between her and her pimp to rob Allen. She argued it was self defence. She was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison.

#FreeCyntoiaBrown, Cyntoia Brown, Murder To Mercy, Netflix, true story, real, events, documentary, now, court, jail, sentence, case, what happened, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna

via Netflix

The #FreeCyntoiaBrown movement began in the wake of #MeToo

In the wake of #MeToo, Cyntoia’s case began to get more and more attention. People were shocked at her sentencing and guilty verdict given that she was 16 at the time of the crime and victim of sexual abuse. In 2017, celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, LeBron James, Cara Delevingne, Snoop Dogg and Drake were vocal on social media about supporting the case to free Cyntoia Brown. 

Cyntoia Brown was freed in 2019. She has now released a book called Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System. She often takes parts in interviews and publicly speaks about the American justice system, continuing her work to expose injustices and problems with prison reform.

Watch the trailer for Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story on Netflix here:

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

Related stories recommended by this writer:

What is Cyntoia Brown from Netflix doc ‘Murder To Mercy’ up to now?

You can get paid $1,000 to watch true crime documentaries for a day

Documentary about a secret sex shop disguised as a book store drops on Netflix

These are the 26 best sports documentaries on Netflix right now