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.
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.
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.
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.
View this post on Instagram
did we somehow change the definition of #JUSTICE along the way?? cause….. Something is horribly wrong when the system enables these rapists and the victim is thrown away for life! To each of you responsible for this child's sentence I hope to God you don't have children, because this could be your daughter being punished for punishing already! #FREECYNTOIABROWN #HowManyMore
The system has failed. It’s heart breaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life! We have to do better & do what’s right. I’ve called my attorneys yesterday to see what can be done to fix this. #FreeCyntoiaBrown pic.twitter.com/73y26mLp7u
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) November 21, 2017
👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 Thank you Governor Haslam 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 https://t.co/rAiru84fgn
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) January 7, 2019
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.