Before 2017 Cyntoia Brown was just another person of colour lost in the unjust prison system in the US, a statistic. Now, she is the focus of a new Netflix documentary: Murder to Mercy.
Cyntoia was a victim of sex trafficking and at aged 16 was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a 43-year-old man who tried to pay her to engage in sexual intercourse.
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Who is Cyntoia Brown?
In 2017, 13 years later, there was a renewed interest in Cyntoia’s case as a plethora of celebrities pledged their support for Cyntoia and expressed anger at a justice system which allowed for a 16-year-old child, who was subjected to sex trafficking, to be tried as an adult when it was clear she was the real victim.
Those celebrities included Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, LeBron James, T.I., and Snoop Dogg. In March 2018 it was announced that the Tennessee Board of Parole would hold a hearing on Brown’s clemency petition and in August 2019, Cyntoia was released from prison after serving 15 years.
In April 2020 Netflix released a documentary about Cyntoia’s life called ‘Murder to Mercy’, detailing her upbringing and the case itself, though Cyntoia announced she had no involvement in the making of the programme. One thing many people have asked throughout Cyntoia’s trial is: who are her parents, and where are they? Find out in Murder to Mercy, and read below.
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Who are Cyntoia’s parents?
Cyntoia Brown was born on Jan. 29, 1988. Her biological father is unknown but her biological mother is named Georgina Mitchell, who gave birth to Cyntoia when she was 16. Georgina testified that she drank whiskey every day during her pregnancy which, according to Cyntoia’s defence attornies, caused Brown to be born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
In a 2011 PBS documentary called Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story focused on Brown’s early life. Footage in that documentary shows Brown’s grandmother claiming that Georgina Mitchell was a product of rape.
Eventually, Cyntoia was put up for adoption, and a woman named Ellenette Brown became her adoptive mother.