Cyntoia Brown Murdered A Sleeping Man : Does The Punishment Fit The Crime?
- Cyntoia Brown shot Johnny Allen in the back while he was sleeping.
- Cyntoia Brown stole Allen’s cash, guns, and truck after killing him.
- According to investigators and medical doctors, Allen could not have been reaching for a gun based on the way he was found dead.
- Cyntoia Brown never took the stand during the trial, therefore the jury never heard first hand of her past traumatic experiences.
- Due to a psychiatric evaluation, doctors cited that Brown was mentally capable of standing trial.
- Brown was tried as an adult despite the fact that she was only 16 years-old.
Read more below via Newsweek
Celebrities are rushing to support Cyntoia Brown—who is serving a life sentence for killing a man who’d paid her for sex despite being abused by her boyfriend pimp—but the case of the then-teenager is anything but clear.
The singer Rihanna re-ignited a frenzy from the 2004 case in a viral Instagram post on Tuesday about the case, saying Brown had been repeatedly “drugged and raped by different men” who purchased her. The post says the man Brown killed was a child predator who took her to his home to use her “for sex.”
The singer’s post suggests a black-and-white issue when the facts speak to something a lot more gray. Details of the 2006 trial at least can help better explain the charges against the teen and why a jury sided with prosecutors on a life sentence.
Prosecutors say Brown killed Johnny Allen, 43, in order to steal from him — she took several firearms and his pants, which contained his wallet. They also pointed to her past drug use and criminal juvenile record in an attempt to show a pattern in her life.
Allen was found dead in a pool of blood in his bed. Authorities say he was face down and had his hands under his head, as though he was sleeping when he was shot in the back of the head, court documents show.
Brown told Nashville police officers Allen picked her up at a Sonic Drive-In and took her back to his home and they got into his bed. He started touching her under the covers and Brown told police she thought he was reaching for a gun, so she pulled out a .40-caliber handgun from her purse and shot him in the head, court documents show. However, photographs taken at the scene of the crime indicate that Allen was actually asleep when Brown shot him 4 times in the head and back.
Initially, she denied she was a prostitute and that they’d had sex.
Authorities say Brown stole Allen’s cash, guns and pickup truck before driving to a nearby Walmart parking lot where someone else picked her up.
While Brown never denied killing Allen, she claimed she shot him in self-defense. But was it self defense if Brown was sleeping? Was Brown actually afraid of Allen or simply trying to get away with some quick cash?
She never took the stand during her trial, and a jury sided with prosecutors—without knowing much of her tragic backstory of prostitution, abuse and ultimately why she shot Allen.
Brown said when she was 16 she was a runaway and met a 24-year-old man known as “Cut-throat.” She started living with him and they moved around to different hotels, the Associated Press reported.
He was abusive—both physically and emotionally—and forced her to prostitute herself for money. He also regularly choked, beat and raped her.
“He would explain to me that some people were born whores, and that I was one, and I was a slut, and nobody’d want me but him, and the best thing I could do was just learn to be a good whore,” Brown told a judge in 2012 during an appeal hearing.
The day she met Allen and went back to his home—August 5, 2004—she said she felt afraid by his odd behavior, telling a judge he kept getting up and standing over her.
She finally took out her gun and shot him in the head.
Brown’s attorneys have argued her mother’s intense alcohol drinking while pregnant left the teen with a neurodevelopmental disorder that could be what caused her behavior that day.
Evidence of her disorder, which is characterized as a “severe mental disease and defect” and has lowered her IQ, was not shown to the jury during her trial, the AP reported.
Brown’s case gained support in 2011 after a documentary detailed her life and what she went through both before the killing and while behind bars. Her case has also helped gain momentum for legislation against life sentences for juvenile offenders.
She’s been described as a model prisoner since she was placed behind bars, even mentoring other women and getting her associate degree through an in-jail program, the Tennessean reported.
It’s not exactly clear why celebrities suddenly learned of Brown’s case Tuesday, but support for the teen quickly went viral with everyone from Kim Kardashian to T.I posting their thoughts with the #FREECYNTOIABROWN.