Appeal hearing set for woman sentenced as a teen to life

Cyntoia Brown (WSMV file photo)

NASHVILLE (WSMV) - The Tennessee Supreme Court has made a ruling in connection with the sentencing of Cyntoia Brown, a Nashville woman convicted of murder as a teenager in the 90s.

According to the court, "a defendant convicted of first-degree murder committed on or after July 1, 1995, and sentenced to life in prison becomes eligible for release after serving a minimum of 51 years in prison."

Brown was 16 years old at the time she was arrested and was tried in adult court for first-degree premeditated murder and first-degree felony murder. After a jury convicted her, the judge combined the two murder convictions and sentenced her to life in prison.

Brown claims the murder was in self-defense and that she was forced into prostitution. Her cries for justice have captured the attention of a number of celebrities, including Kim Kardashian West and Rihanna.

Brown appealed her sentence to the Sixth Circuit, who sent the decision to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

The court released this statement after Thursday's unanimous decision:

Under state law, a life sentence is a determinate sentence of 60 years. However, the 60-year sentence can be reduced by up to 15 percent, or nine years, by earning various sentence credits. Therefore, the Supreme Court concluded that a defendant serving a life sentence for a first-degree murder committed on or after July 1, 1995, may be eligible for release after serving at least 51 years of the sentence.

Click here to read the full unanimous opinion released by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

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Multimedia Producer

Kara is an Emmy Award-winning digital producer. She is a Cincinnati native and an alumna of the University of South Carolina. She previously worked at WRDW-TV in Augusta, Ga., before moving to Nashville five years ago to work at WSMV-TV.

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