In 2017, the hashtag #FreeCyntoiaBrown went viral after Rihanna tweeted the sentiment about Brown, who was sentenced to life in prison nearly 16 years before for murder.
Back in 2006, Brown was convicted of killing a 43-year-old real estate agent, Johnny Allen, who solicited the then-16-year-old sex trafficking victim at a Nashville Sonic restaurant in 2004. According to Brown, during their encounter, she believed he was going to kill her and shot Allen in self-defense. She also testified during her trial that she was forced into sex work by a physically and emotionally abusive pimp named Kutthroat. Still, prosecutors argued that Allen’s murder was pre-meditated and Brown planned to rob him. Although underage at the time of the shooting, she was tried as an adult and sentenced to life behind bars.
On April 29th, Netflix will tell Brown’s story with Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story. “When I was 16 I did a horrible thing,” Brown says in the trailer. “I do pray that you show me mercy and that you give me a second chance.”
The doc will trace Brown’s life — from running away from home, to suffering sexual and physical abuse, to shooting Allen. The film will also outline her redemption: The support she received from musicians like Rihanna and Lana Del Rey — and her eventual release.
The doc was directed and produced by Daniel H. Birman, who previously released another film about Brown in 2011, Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story.
Editor’s Note: This story’s headline was changed to state that Brown was a sex trafficking victim.