Brenda Gilmore, a state senator, has joined a list of people requesting clemency for Cyntoia Brown.
On Friday, she and other lawmakers held a news conference asking Gov. Bill Haslam to grant Brown clemency now because “it is the right thing to do for this young woman.”
According to a release, Brown was trapped in prostitution and a victim of child sex trafficking when she shot and killed Jimmy Allen.
Allen picked up the then 16-year-old at the Sonic on Murfreesboro Pike and brought her home.
The two got into bed together and at some point, Brown killed Allen. She claimed self-defense, but prosecutors maintained that Brown, who was 16 at the time, killed the 43-year-old real estate agent in order to rob him.
Brown was convicted in 2004 and is currently serving a life sentence. The Supreme Court said last week she could become eligible for parole after serving 51 years, but Gilmore argues the young woman has served long enough.
“To keep her in prison for 51 years is another travesty,” Gilmore said, adding, “We hear across the country of so much sexual exploitation to adult women. This is something that has happened as a child. Because I have a granddaughter who’s approximately this age, I can just imagine finding herself in this situation.”
Gilmore said she and other members of the Black Caucus have sent a letter to Gov. Haslam regarding Brown. She said she hopes to have a sit-down meeting with him in the near future.
While jailed, Brown has earned her associate degree.
Last year, her case received national attention and celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Rihanna launched a social media campaign to free the woman.