The 16 Year Old Killer" Cyntoia's Story

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  1. prettynatural

    prettynatural Think, Do, Be

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    What are your thoughts about children who kill? Should they be charged as adults? Should their background and upbringing allow leniency in terms of sentencing? My spirit grieves for her and for the many kids who end up like her and the victim families.


    Eta: Summary. The girl was born to a troubled teenage mother. She was eventually adopted around 3 years old by a black family who knew the mother. The birth mother was addict and prostitute(she was white). The adoptive home was better but her adoptive dad was abusive to her and there were some domestic violence.

    The girl was gifted with a 127 IQ. At thirteen she had behavioral problems. She was sent to various treatment centers and eventually in state custody at level 4, baby jail. She got out. She ran away and got hooked with shady people and a pimp. She had been raped and sexually abused in her past. She picked up a John and went to his house. Shot him in the back of the head and stole a few items. She told an acquaintance and they told the police. She was arrested and charged. Eventually she was convicted of 1st degree murder.








    Here is the link to the documentary. The documentary does not give much information about her background but the link the story does. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLyenhWOwg8 http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashv...ntence-was-justice-served/Content?oid=2268809
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014
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  2. prettynatural

    prettynatural Think, Do, Be

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    The article is long but provides a lot of detail in the crime and her state of mind.

    Cyntoia Brown could be a gifted litigator, professor Preston Shipp thought, as he discussed the moving parts of the criminal justice system with his 30 students. Inquisitive, engaged, able to parse a legal principle and trace its lineage, the 21-year-old Brown was unlike anyone he'd ever taught.

    It wasn't just that she wrung every nugget of knowledge she could from her professor. It was her active, searching mind. Whenever Shipp played devil's advocate supporting the prevailing model of mass incarceration, Cyntoia was the one student he could count on to pick holes in his argument. That set her apart from his students at Lipscomb University, undergrads whose attendance at chapel and Bible study is mandatory.

    But there was another reason Cyntoia was different. Unlike his Lipscomb students, whose futures were limitless, Shipp knew she would never become a litigator. That's because the class he was teaching met behind the heavy steel doors of the Tennessee Prison for Women, inside fences strung with razor wire.

    By that spring of 2009, Cyntoia Brown had been locked up for nearly five years. Under the terms of her life sentence, she had about 45 to go before her term was up.

    It was the second year of the Lipscomb Initiative for Education, a free program that places 15 traditional Lipscomb undergrads — mostly from white, upper-middle-class Christian families — in the same class with 15 felons, convicted of crimes such as murder and armed robbery. The program was intended to address gaps left after a 1994 federal law effectively defunded Pell Grants for inmate education, despite research from the Federal Bureau of Prisons showing that education lowers recidivism rates.

    In 2004, Cyntoia was already a veteran of Middle Tennessee's juvenile justice system. Back then, she was living out of a room at a South Nashville extended-stay dive. Her companion was a 24-year-old drug dealer and armed robber known as "Cut-throat," who had her out on a Murfreesboro Road red-light district turning tricks for coke money.

    That life reached its brutal apex on a summer night that August, when a 43-year-old real estate agent picked her up under circumstances that raise as many questions as they answer. That night, Cyntoia shot him in the back of the head and stole a couple of guns from his house. She was caught, and a jury convicted her of first-degree murder and especially aggravated robbery. At an age most kids are worrying about drivers' licenses and prom dresses, Cyntoia Brown was facing an adult criminal trial for premeditated murder.

    But Preston Shipp didn't know any of this. To him, Cyntoia was a wunderkind in prison blues. For all her outsize garrulousness, she was just 5 feet 2. She wore her thick, wavy black hair just past her shoulders, and her large, expressive eyes were often rimmed with black eyeliner. She was a magnetic presence, even in standard-issue jeans with "Tennessee Prison for Women" stenciled down the leg.

    Shipp was no stranger to the criminal justice system. A former Tennessee assistant attorney general, he often worked the other side in the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, arguing on behalf of the state. If an appellant claimed his trial representation was ineffective, it was Shipp's job to argue that the defense was more than adequate. If an appellant claimed his sentence was unreasonable, Shipp argued it was appropriate and just.

    During his five years in office, Shipp wrote some 250 briefs. He didn't lose much sleep over the people he helped keep behind bars. Most of them, he thought, were exactly where they needed to be.

    But over the past few years, something had changed. He'd been spending time in the prison, teaching young women like Cyntoia who seemed eager to redeem themselves and their squandered lives. In class, he led his students in scathing critiques of the criminal justice system — the mass incarceration, the neglect of victims' needs, the damaged people who often ended up convicted, the lip service paid to rehabilitation.

    Shipp began to question his long-held beliefs, and to wonder about people who'd once been nothing more to him than names on a docket. Then one day, in April 2009, about a month into class, the professor was sorting through his mail when something stopped him cold.

    Among the letters was an opinion from the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. It settled a case he'd argued the summer before. The judges upheld the trial court's conviction — which meant the professor successfully defeated the appeal on behalf of the Tennessee attorney general. It was another win for Preston Shipp.

    Any sense of victory he felt, however, was gone when he read the appellant's name. It was an improbable coincidence, and yet there it was: the name of his star student, Cyntoia Denise Brown.

    Shipp sat frozen in disbelief. Could the polite, intelligent, unfailingly thoughtful girl who showed such promise in his class be the same cold-blooded murderess whose appeal he helped crush without a second thought?

    In time, he would learn a lot about Cyntoia. He would find out about the depraved state the girl was in at the time of the murder. He would discover the things that had been done to her, and why she might reasonably think a stark naked 43-year-old man would go for a gun when she refused his advances.

    Before knowing any of this, though, Shipp had successfully argued against her. At root, he had stated unequivocally that she deserved to remain in prison — for most, if not all, of her life.

    The problem, Shipp says today, is that the system leaves no room for rehabilitation — and no chance for the juvenile court to reappraise troubled teens who become sensible adults. Like Cyntoia, juveniles convicted of serious crimes are being tried as adults with increasing frequency. Faced with a resource-strapped Department of Children's Services and a jurisdiction not to exceed a youth's 19th birthday, juvenile judges are left with little choice but to ensure public safety by locking them away — even if that finishes off a life already damaged by abuse, neglect and circumstance.

    Upon receiving the letter, Shipp now had to face his most promising pupil. For when Cyntoia got word that her appeal was denied, she would learn that the instructor nurturing her hopes — of salvaging the life she threw away at age 16 — was the same person who had helped end them. It was as if a door finally slammed shut — a door that started closing before she was born.
     
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  3. prettynatural

    prettynatural Think, Do, Be

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    Ellenette Brown, who is black, had no clue 16-year-old Georgina Mitchell, who is white, was pregnant. How could you tell? In 1987, all the kids were wearing baggy football jerseys. Georgina's was certainly roomy enough to hide a swelling belly.

    But there were a lot of things Ellenette probably didn't know about the young woman who befriended her son, John Harleston. Georgina had come to Clarksville to live with her sister. Her mother warned her she could come back home to Georgia on one condition: without the black baby growing in her belly. Georgina never went home.

    Instead, she began hanging around Ellenette's house, a gathering spot for neighborhood teens. Ellenette, a trim woman with finely boned hands, was a substitute teacher at a nearby elementary school. Kids like Georgina were drawn to her. They could talk to her about things they could never broach with their own parents.

    But Georgina didn't tell Ellenette about the baby she carried, or the fifths of liquor she drained most nights. Nor did she mention the money she made charging for sex, or her family's history of suicides and mental illness.

    On Jan. 29, 1988, Ellenette received a call from John. Georgina, he said, was in the hospital. Was she injured? Ellenette wondered. Her worry shifted to disbelief when he told her the girl was a new mother. By the time Ellenette and John visited Georgina in her room, she'd named her baby daughter Cyntoia. There was no father present. He could have been one of several men, including John Harleston, Cyntoia says, but Georgina could never be certain. Mother and daughter vanished shortly thereafter.

    When Georgina showed up six months later on Ellenette's doorstep, with Cyntoia in her arms, it was to ask Ellenette to look after her baby for a while. Ellenette had no idea where they'd been, but she found Cyntoia such a sweet child that she didn't mind. The days stretched into weeks, the weeks into months. Ellenette grew to love the baby girl, to treat her like a daughter.

    Yet caring for her was a struggle. Ellenette's husband Thomas Brown, an Army infantryman, was often deployed abroad. Ellenette couldn't stay home with her because she worked. Nor could she take Cyntoia to day care, because she had no birth certificate or papers of guardianship. Instead, she left the baby girl with an elderly neighbor she could trust.

    Eventually, Ellenette obtained guardianship papers. In the eyes of the state, Cyntoia was now her ward. All seemed well and unusually stable — until a year later. Without warning, Georgina resurfaced in Clarksville.

    The wayward mother asked Ellenette to get Cyntoia dressed. She told the girl's new legal guardian she was coming to pick up her daughter. When Ellenette told this to John Harleston, though, he gave his mother a different set of instructions.

    Do not give her that girl, he said.

    He had recently been corresponding with Georgina. In her yearlong absence, he'd learned, she had been hooking out of a motel on Trinity Lane. She was in and out of jail, strung out. So before Ellenette left for work that day, she instructed her husband not to let the child out of his sight.

    That afternoon, Thomas called. He was frantic. Georgina had come by, saying she wanted to take Cyntoia shopping. She told him she'd bring her right back. He relented. Now they'd been gone for hours, Thomas said, and he'd been calling the phone number she left. No one answered.

    Ellenette went to the Clarksville police and explained the situation. Georgina would surface at some point — most likely in jail — but what about Cyntoia? At this point, Cyntoia was 18 months old. Her guardian had no idea where to start looking, or even whom to ask.

    Months passed. Ellenette lived in a state of perpetual worry, shedding weight she could ill afford to lose. Finally, one of Ellenette's neighbors stepped forward. It was Georgina's sister. She had been covering for her sibling, but she knew the strung-out mom couldn't care for the little girl. She told Ellenette that Cyntoia was in Georgia.

    The trail led to the Elizabeth Canty Homes, a crime-stricken public housing development in Columbus, Ga. When Ellenette reached a man at the housing project's office, he knew exactly whom she was after. Georgina had been picked up a number of times for drugs and prostitution. She left Cyntoia with an elderly couple, and split. With an end to the ordeal in sight, Ellenette dispatched her son-in-law to Columbus with the girl's guardianship papers.

    He arrived, but the news wasn't good. The couple would only relinquish Cyntoia if Ellenette picked the child up in person. Her desperate guardian didn't hesitate. She drove seven hours through the night. But when she met her son-in-law, and they arrived at the couple's home, Cyntoia was gone.

    It had been six months since Georgina had taken her. Now the girl was 2, and Ellenette could only imagine what she had been through, the places her mother had taken her, the people she'd been left with. Ellenette went to the Columbus police, who informed her that Georgina was in jail. Meanwhile, the project's sympathetic HUD manager said he'd called around and had just located Cyntoia. She was fine and staying with another couple who had sheltered Georgina. Give them 30 minutes to dress Cyntoia, he said, and go get your child.

    The police offered to escort Ellenette and her son-in-law into the projects. They told her white son-in-law to wait in the car. She knocked on the door. As she began explaining to the woman who she was, Ellenette's voice must have carried into the apartment. Tiny footsteps padded toward the door.

    As quickly as her wobbling legs could carry her, the missing toddler locked her arms in a vise grip around her guardian's neck. Between wracking sobs, in a 2-year-old's halting speech, the girl asked why she'd left her. When she could finally speak herself, Ellenette explained she'd done no such thing. She had come to take her baby home.
     
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  4. prettynatural

    prettynatural Think, Do, Be

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    Despite Ellenette's efforts, though, Cyntoia was different after that. Everyone saw it. Back home in Nashville, she clung to her adoptive mother as if she were afraid that if she lost sight of her, she might disappear again.

    Only the two of them remained. Shortly after Cyntoia vanished, Thomas was deployed to Saudi Arabia for a 13-month tour of duty. As for Ellenette's two other children, they were grown and had moved away. Yet whenever her adoptive mother had friends and family over, Cyntoia had to be told to play with other children her age. Otherwise, she'd remain at her mother's side.

    Occasionally Ellenette received a letter from Georgina, usually from jail. She'd call when she got out, vowing that she would visit Cyntoia. But Ellenette wouldn't hear from her after that — at least until the next time she wound up in jail.

    Ever since Cyntoia was old enough to understand, she knew she was adopted. She didn't look like Ellenette or Thomas or John Harleston or Missy, her sister. Her skin was lighter. Ellenette explained that her biological mother had been too young to care for her, and that Cyntoia was a part of this family now — legally and in every other sense of the word. But the girl couldn't help feeling like an outsider. On trips to see relatives in North Carolina, she felt sure they shared no blood.

    Her new father Thomas hardly made her feel more welcome. A Vietnam combat veteran, he'd been awarded the Purple Heart for a leg injury and had a plate implanted in his skull. He drank so much rotgut brandy that his friends called him "EJ," after the E&J brand.

    When he drank, Ellenette remembers, his temper smoldered until something set it off. Often, it was his adopted daughter. He told Cyntoia she was going to turn out just like Georgina — a prostitute, an addict. Tensions came to a boil one particularly difficult evening, when Ellenette threatened to pour Thomas' E&J down the bathroom sink.

    Ellenette didn't mind a little wine during the weekend, but she thought it was time for Thomas to dry out. He was livid. In response, he hurled a lamp at her and gripped her throat, choking her.

    John Harleston found out the next day and rushed over. As soon as he saw Thomas, he attacked. The son began to strangle his stepfather, wrestling him to the floor. Ellenette was away at church. Cyntoia, then roughly 9, was left to confront the enraged adults.

    Petrified, screaming, she watched her father and brother struggle for life. In one shaking hand, she held the phone. In the other, she clutched a knife. She didn't want to hurt John, but she wanted him to stop hurting her father. The phone, the knife; the phone, the knife.

    The child managed to dial 911. But Cyntoia's relationship with her father never recovered, Ellenette says. Around that time, Cyntoia began drinking whenever she could — mouthfuls of wine, beer or liquor from unattended cups at Super Bowl parties when no one was looking; booze raided from the liquor cabinet and stored in plastic bottles in the closet.

    Cyntoia never asked many questions about her birth mother, Ellenette says, although she knew her daughter sometimes daydreamed about her. But a chance discovery changed the girl's perception of her biological mother as an illusory, abstract presence.
     
  5. prettynatural

    prettynatural Think, Do, Be

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    At 10 years old, she was snooping through an item of Ellenette's — a portable German closet called a schrank — when she came upon a sheaf of letters. They were written to her, dated back to her infancy and signed by her biological mother. Cyntoia had always wondered about Georgina. It had hurt her that she'd never reached out. She had felt disposable.

    Now she knew it wasn't true. All these years Georgina had been trying to communicate, but Ellenette wouldn't budge. In her mind, she was protecting Cyntoia from her absentee mother's chain of broken promises.

    "All the years [Georgina] said, 'I'm coming, I'm coming, I'm coming,' and never shows up," Ellenette says. "Suppose each time she said that I said to 'Toia, 'Your mom is coming,' and she sits there waiting and she never shows up. That's horrible. I'd never do that to a child."

    When Cyntoia turned 18, she could meet Georgina, Ellenette decided. In the meantime, she didn't want the impressionable girl following her mother down that self-destructive path. She didn't foresee, though, that her daughter was about to embark on her own. To Cyntoia, Ellenette's obstinacy was keeping her from her real family, the blood kin she'd never had. She withdrew into her room most days after school — less and less Mommy's girl.

    Cyntoia was an exceptionally bright student, but disdainful of authority. She started smart-mouthing and cussing teachers, and she got into fights with other students. The kids at school teased her for her pale skin, her white mother. They mocked her status in a program for gifted children, as if being smart were a source of shame rather than pride.

    In seventh grade, through the gifted program, Cyntoia took the ACT college entrance exam alongside high school seniors — and more than held her own. But in 2000, at the age of 12, she was picked up for a theft amounting to some $2,000 — Ellenette says it was a friend's mother's jewelry — and placed in the district's alternative school for at-risk students.

    During a psychological evaluation, the examiner was troubled when the girl began speaking in a high-pitched sing-song voice, threatening to kill her father and cursing staff members. She was "completely out of touch with reality," an observer noted. Medication, likely Thorazine, was administered immediately.

    Cyntoia told staff members of abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. Then she leveled a devastating accusation, that he'd raped her. Cyntoia later recanted the statement, saying she was angry with him at the time. To this day, she maintains the rape never happened. But Ellenette, who filed for divorce not long after Cyntoia's accusation, has never been able to completely dismiss the possibility.

    The following April, Cyntoia violated her probation when she assaulted a teacher. That December, she was charged with escape after pulling the fire alarm at a secure juvenile detention facility and attempting to break out.

    Cyntoia was exposed to a rough youth culture at the alternative schools where the district placed her. She started smoking pot regularly and skipping school. She was in and out of secure facilities: a Department of Children's Services supervisor, at whom Cyntoia once hurled a chair, would later say her record took up several pages. She ended up in a long-term juvenile facility operated by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

    Woodland Hills Youth Development Center in Nashville was the end of the line. Less like a school and more like a prison, the facility was circled by a fence adorned with a looping tuft of razor wire. Here, away from Ellenette, plagued by internal conflict, Cyntoia spiraled out of control.

    She was involved in roughly 20 assaults on other students. At 14, she was placed on a heavy-duty cocktail of psychotropic drugs for depression and anxiety, and she was entered into alcohol and drug treatment. In psychological evaluations at the time, doctors noted that Cyntoia often behaved irrationally, suffering from wild mood swings. She had little sense of self-worth, a counselor noted, and she expected others to fail or betray her. Yet she acted in ways that made those expectations reality. She was nearly incapable of trusting anyone, yet she badly desired approval.

    Cyntoia spent 15 months in Woodland Hills. In April 2003, she was released. She was 15.

    On the ride back to Clarksville, Cyntoia wondered where her father was. Every time she'd called home, she asked for Thomas. Each time there had been a different reason he couldn't come to the phone — he was on the road, he was out in the yard, he went to the store. With her daughter released, Ellenette told her the truth: She and Thomas had divorced more than a year-and-a-half ago, and he was now living in Virginia. She hadn't said anything about it while Cyntoia was locked up, afraid her daughter would have a meltdown and further delay her own release.

    Cyntoia was stunned. Her father, for all his faults, was gone. There was a new man in Ellenette's life, an old friend named Frank, but Cyntoia couldn't stand him. She did everything she could to run him off, Ellenette says. Once, in an effort to scuttle the relationship, she told him Ellenette had another boyfriend.

    Cyntoia began spending a lot of time with a girlfriend down the street. Ellenette found out they were actually hanging out at another house in the neighborhood, getting stoned and drunk. Mother and daughter clashed repeatedly. When Ellenette discovered she'd been skipping school, they parted ways.

    The teenager stayed with her sister Missy and baby-sat her nephew when they both got out of school. The arrangement worked for a time, until Missy came home from work one day and found her son sitting in the house alone. Cyntoia was gone. She was missing for three days and returned with little explanation.

    It was impossible for Cyntoia's family to keep tabs on her 24 hours a day, particularly when everyone had to work. In December, Cyntoia was playing hooky at her sister's house in Clarksville. She was supposed to help her decorate the tree that evening, but she was tired of waiting. In fact, she'd already made up her mind to go. She trimmed the tree herself and hung the lights and decorations.

    The house, by all accounts, looked beautiful. Cyntoia Brown's years of freedom were coming to an end, but all she could see was escape. She grabbed a bag and caught a ride to Nashville, to start her new life.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    By the time Cyntoia was 16, she lived with an older woman in Nashville named Shocosha, whose home functioned as a de facto day care for children whose parents weren't providing for them. She stayed stoned on blunts — cigars gutted and stuffed with marijuana. She popped Ecstasy and snuck into nightclubs, drinking and dancing into the morning. She drifted in and out of relationships with much older men who took advantage of her youth and inexperience — men who had no qualms about hooking up with a girl barely old enough to drive.

    Cyntoia says she started selling crack out of a friend's house in the Andrew Jackson housing development for a dealer who was locked up and needed the assist. When he got out, he asked her to join him on a cocaine run to Florida, offering to pay her. He picked Cyntoia up and they stopped at a motel off West End where he had a room. He claimed their bus to Atlanta had been delayed, and offered her a mixed vodka drink while they waited. She can only assume it was drugged.

    She didn't know for sure how many times he raped her, or how long she was in his motel room. When she finally stumbled out and managed to call Shocosha, she received a shock. "Where have you been?" the woman asked. Cyntoia had been gone for two days.

    It wouldn't be the last time. In the weeks leading up to the murder, Cyntoia says she was raped twice more. When she confided this to Shocosha, her friend would later say Cyntoia laughed. That's how she coped. She laughed when you expected her to cry.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Cut-throat was always calling Cyntoia a slut. She shouldn't feel that bad about it, he'd say. Some people are just born that way. It was as though he'd taken a page from her father's playbook.

    Cut, as she called him, wasn't a bad-looking guy — broad-shouldered, with hair worn in a thick shock of small braids. His real name was Garion McGlothen, he was 24, and at first their brief relationship had been fun. They got high all day. They had sex, much of it unforced. He even got Cyntoia to snort her first line — one of the most pleasurable highs she'd ever experienced.

    And when Cyntoia was up, she was invincible. Once Cut choked her to the point that she lost consciousness. As soon as she came to, Cyntoia got right back up and started taunting him. She lost weight, though, because she often forgot to eat. Her eyes were bloodshot and rimmed with dark circles.

    Sometime in July, Ellenette got an unexpected call. She hadn't heard from her daughter since May. She picked up the phone, only to hear Cyntoia calling from a bathroom in a Chattanooga motel. Ellenette begged her to come home, but Cyntoia said Cut wouldn't let her. He knew where her adoptive mother lived, she said, and he'd told her that if she left him, he'd find her. He'd done it before. Cyntoia promised that as soon as she could get away, she would.

    If on some level Cyntoia feared Cut, she didn't know the half of it. For the most part, his rap sheet wasn't that extensive. He'd been popped for carrying a gun and possession of narcotics. Cyntoia knew he sometimes robbed people. It's a sure bet he sold a little coke.
     
  6. prettynatural

    prettynatural Think, Do, Be

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    What she didn't know was that Cut was wanted in connection with a robbery several months before. A club owner named Rachel Browning had been shot in the neck and was paralyzed from the chest down. Already a dangerous sociopath, Cut was on a hair-trigger — an alleged accomplice in an attempted murder, maybe even the perpetrator.

    Cut lay low. He and Cyntoia lived out of the InTown Suites on Murfreesboro Pike under a fake name, in a tiny room with a double bed and a hot plate. To pay for coke and room rent, Cut stationed Cyntoia out on Murfreesboro Pike near the hotel — a well-known thoroughfare where sex is a curbside service. Sometimes she could just take a john's money and bolt. Sometimes she performed the service for the fee — about $250 usually, to be split with Cut. She didn't like thinking of herself as a prostitute, but that's what she was becoming.

    It was around 11 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5, 2004, when a carhop at Sonic saw a white-and-gray two-tone Ford truck drive past. She waved it down. The man behind the wheel, 43-year-old real estate agent Johnny Allen, leaned out of the window and smiled. He was an average-looking guy, around 6 feet tall, with a slight paunch. He had shaggy brown hair and some male-pattern baldness he covered with a toupee. Even in front of longtime girlfriends, Allen was reluctant to remove his hairpiece.

    The carhop could see the man was getting the wrong idea. "Your headlights are off," she said.

    "I'm sorry," he said, and drove off.

    Fifteen minutes later, Allen pulled into Sonic. Beside him, in the passenger seat, was Cyntoia.

    "Back already?" the carhop joked.

    Allen ordered a soft drink, a chicken sandwich and fries for Cyntoia.

    "That'll be $99," she said, playing with him a little.

    "That's kinda expensive," he replied.

    "Don't you think she's worth it?" the carhop asked. She assumed Cyntoia was his daughter or niece.

    "I don't know," Allen said. "We'll see."

    The carhop would later testify that Cyntoia looked uncomfortable.

    Allen pulled away from Sonic and took her to his home, on nearby Mossdale Drive off Bell Road. According to court documents, Allen, who'd been divorced since 1999, lived in a cozy split-level that was oddly appointed for a single man his age. In the living room, Cyntoia would have seen a pastel, floral-print couch flanked by lamps with tasseled, white satin shades, sitting atop doilies on white wicker end tables. A nearby armoire held trinkets, including a porcelain figurine in a white lace gown. On a wooden dinner table, cloth napkins folded in fan shapes were arranged around a vase of white silk flowers. It looked like the home of an aging spinster expecting guests for tea.

    According to Cyntoia's statement to police, and her testimony during the juvenile transfer hearing, she and Allen ate their dinner and chatted. Allen, Cyntoia says, claimed to be an expert marksman, trained in the Army. He showed her a chrome pistol, a double-barrel shotgun and a .22-caliber rifle, she testified. At some point they went downstairs and watched TV. BET was on, and she recalled seeing India.Arie. Allen had a lot of expensive audio equipment, including two tower speakers.

    She claimed he tried to kiss her a few times, but she pulled away. Cyntoia maintains that she told Allen she was tired, and that she'd like to get some sleep. They filed into the master bedroom, where Allen unbuttoned a red-and-black Hawaiian-print shirt and slipped off a pair of dark slacks. They climbed into his bed, and she says she tried to drift off, hoping he wouldn't insist on sex.

    She wouldn't have been able to sleep anyway, because Allen, she claimed, kept getting out of bed and walking into the guest bedroom. From there, he'd walk to the bathroom and shut the door. Then he'd come back in and lie down. And he did it again, Cyntoia said, to her growing alarm.

    During one of these trips back to his side of the bed, he shed his shimmering black and gold silk boxers and lay down naked next to Cyntoia. Allen caressed her shoulder. She later testified during a hearing that he tried to grab her crotch, and she pulled away. To hear her tell it, she began to fear he might kill her — a fear no doubt amplified by at least two weeks on a coke bender.

    When Cyntoia rebuffed Allen's advances, she says he rolled over. She thought he was going for a gun, so she reached into her purse on the nightstand. She pulled out a .40-caliber pistol Cut had given her for protection — the very same pistol, in fact, whose bullet had paralyzed Rachel Browning.

    She leveled the gun at the back of Allen's head and fired. As she grabbed her purse and turned to flee, she remembered hearing a sound like bathwater running onto the wood floor. She collected the rifle and shotgun from the case, she said, not about to return to Cut empty-handed. She loaded them into Allen's truck and sped off at about 2 a.m. down the quiet street while the neighborhood slept.
     
  7. prettynatural

    prettynatural Think, Do, Be

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    Con't

    Cyntoia pulled the truck into the InTown Suites parking lot and lugged the guns up to the room. Cut was furious that she'd brought the weapons to their room without concealing them. She returned to the truck and drove it down Murfressboro Pike to the Walmart on Hamilton Church Road. Surveillance cameras observed her dumping it in the parking lot and waving down a man in a black SUV for a ride.

    As he drove her the short distance back to the motel, Cyntoia stared blankly ahead. The stranger would later recall wondering what the girl, who looked like a child, was doing out so late.

    Cyntoia spent much of the next day getting stoned, glued to the television and waiting for a report on the night before. She testified at one point that she wasn't sure whether Allen was dead or alive. At around 4 or 5 that afternoon, she went down the hall to Richard Reed's room. She'd known Reed from juvenile detention back in Clarksville, where he'd been locked up for public intoxication, possession of a firearm and assaulting his grandmother.

    He answered the door in a fog, still hung-over from the night before, which he'd spent drinking at the bar where he worked. She asked him for a ride down the street to Walmart. He dressed, and they hopped into a Ford Escort. According to trial transcripts, Reed claimed Cyntoia told him about a "fat lick." He said she told him she shot a man, and that she would split the $50,000 she'd stolen if he accompanied her back to the house on Mossdale.

    Reed thought she was blowing smoke — and she was, at least concerning the money. As they pulled into the Walmart parking lot, she pointed to a white pickup. She evidently had the keys to it as well, because she climbed inside while Reed waited.

    Cyntoia claims she called Allen's house from his cell phone, but no one picked up. When she got back to the InTown, she checked the news again. Not a word about a murder or a shooting. Within the next hour or so, she dialed 911 from his phone.

    "2728 Mossdale Drive," Cyntoia said in comical sotto voce, sounding like a little girl imitating her father.

    "What's going on over there, ma'am?" the operator asked.

    "Homicide," Cyntoia replied, and hung up. She would later say she didn't like the idea of Allen lying in that bedroom by himself. She wanted him to be found
     
  8. prettynatural

    prettynatural Think, Do, Be

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    At around 7:30 p.m. on the night after the murder, a Metro police officer entered Johnny Allen's house through the garage. He found Allen prone, his left arm propping him up slightly on his right side at the very edge of the bed, facing the wall. His body was partially covered with a floral print bedspread. His fingers were loosely intertwined, with the back of his right hand resting lightly against his forehead.

    There was an entry wound in the back of his head and an exit wound in the front. The force of the gunshot had apparently dislodged Allen's hairpiece. The green pillowcase he was resting on had a powder burn about a foot from the back of his head. A great deal of blood had stained the side of the mattress and box springs, eventually pooling on the floor. In crime scene photos, it looks just a shade lighter than used motor oil.

    Hours later, Reed and his roommate, Sam Humphrey, were watching the 10 o'clock news when a report aired about a homicide at a home near Bell Road. Reed was stunned, and he told Humphrey about the offer Cyntoia allegedly made that afternoon. Humphrey and Reed agreed it'd be safer to leave the InTown Suites for the night.

    At around 1:20 a.m. the following morning, Detectives Charles Robinson and Derry Baltimore of the Metro Police Murder Squad pulled into the parking lot of the Compton Foodland off of Smith Springs Road to meet a young man who had information regarding the murder of Johnny Allen. Sam Humphrey told the detectives everything he knew, including where to find Cyntoia. Perhaps an hour later, the detectives arrived at the door of their room at InTown, flanked by six uniformed officers, guns drawn. The detectives hung back while the officers knocked on the door.

    After a few moments, Cut answered and was pulled out and pinned down. Cyntoia rushed through the door in nothing but panties and a bra. "Cut didn't have nothin' to do with it," she cried. "I'll tell y'all everything."
    .......

    The article is very long but it gives the gist of how she was caught.
    The remainder can be read on the link.
     
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  9. desertfloweriam

    desertfloweriam Well-Known Member

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    Could you sum that up in one or two paragraphs?
     
  10. TraciChanel

    TraciChanel Well-Known Member

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    prettynatural, I'm going to watch the documentary. I'll be back to comment after I watch. This sounds very interesting :yep:
     
  11. BlessedStarlette

    BlessedStarlette Well-Known Member

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  12. prettynatural

    prettynatural Think, Do, Be

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  13. iCandyc

    iCandyc Well-Known Member

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    I watched the doc a few mths ago. I do think it's unfair to make a 16 year old spend life in prison. We've all grown tremendously since that age. I'm unsure of what prompted her to really kill however seems like she had a really hard life.
     
  14. barbiesocialite

    barbiesocialite Well-Known Member

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    But she said the guy was trying to rape her. what about self-defense?
     
  15. barbiesocialite

    barbiesocialite Well-Known Member

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    she's clearly just a girl. 16 is still 16. no matter how intelligent, male or female.

    I don't think she should have been tried as an adult.
     
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  16. TraciChanel

    TraciChanel Well-Known Member

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    It's just a sad story all around. She definitely got the raw deal, and I'm sure that race played a part in this, which angers me. She killed a white male. He was 43 years old, but sleeping with a 15 y.o. prostitute - who he took to his home. Yet, they made him out to be an innocent victim. The DA actually said, (paraphrasing) "he even bought you something to eat" SMH. I think it's unjust that she was charged as an adult. I think it's unjust that she has to serve a life sentence. It's unjust that her life circumstances were not taken into consideration. Her biological family has a history of mental illness. She was molested by 30+ individuals. Her adoptive father was abusive to her. Her adoptive mother seems a bit suspect as well. I feel sorry for her. And I'm not a person who believes that teens should not be tried as adults, depending on the crime. But, in this case, I truly think justice was not served. It's a shame.
     
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  17. Ogoma

    Ogoma Well-Known Member

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    Every man she ever came across did her wrong. I actually believe her adopted father sexually abused her. I think her stepmother tried, but she failed in many spots. She seemed very permissive and seemed not to take her issues in school seriously. For such a gifted child, the stepmother that was familiar with the school system as a teacher, should have found other options than the school she was currently in.

    Unfortunately, her story is not unique. I have read some variation of that story multiple times from people in prison or from those that chose to change their lives. She was heading towards a life of prison, either the revolving door or the situation she is currently in.

    I feel she is where she needs to be. She killed a man she contracted to have sex with. She might have felt she was in fear for her life or paranoid due to the drugs, but she killed him in cold blood. She also laughed repeatedly when recounting the story to her friends and family in front of police officers, and wrote casually about it. I think she should be in there for at least 25 years.
     
  18. SwtAnana

    SwtAnana Well-Known Member

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    This was an interesting read.

    Although I firmly believe that the justice system needs to be revamped for juvenile killers, I have to say that I still believe that she is where she needs to be. Does she need to be there for 45 years though? Not so sure about that.

    At 15, I knew that murder was wrong and came with consequences. Even with her personality disorder and horrible childhood, she has clearly shown herself to be an intelligent woman so it's impossible for me to believe that she didn't understand the gravity of her decisions. Aggressive rehabilitation as described in this article sounds very promising but to try and absolve her of responsibility because of her past is an injustice to every single law-abiding citizen. I don't believe that anyone has the right to take anyone's life....yes there are certain situations where I can understand why someone would make that decision but that doesn't change the fact that this person did something wrong.

    I don't buy the argument that her race had something to do with it. If anything, this article is very sympathetic and borders on propaganda. Maybe it's because I watch a lot of Investigation Discovery but I've seen plenty of stories of young white children who've received sentences that are just as harsh. If anything, it's a relief to see that she is being highlighted as someone who can be rehabilitated because we all know the system is biased against us.
     
  19. butter_pecan

    butter_pecan Well-Known Member

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    I believe if mental health was taken seriously in this country, we'd see a sharp reduction in crime. Based on this story, this girl was put on a track to be imprisoned.
     
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  20. Rocky91

    Rocky91 NYE side boob.

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    It's a long but very worthwhile read imo.

    There's no way she should have been tried as an adult. I recommend watching Bryan Peterson's Ted talk "we need to talk about an injustice."

    Sent from my iPhone using LHCF
     
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  21. CoutureMe06

    CoutureMe06 Well-Known Member

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    I actually sat in on a panel speaking of this same issue in NYC by the correction association yesterday. I'm in agreement the age should be raised but it did not speak in particular to actually murder.

    NYS and NC are the only states that will try 16-17 as adult and even younger will do for adult sentences depending on the crime. I've had this on my mind for a while to view her story. Will watch in a bit.

    Sent from my iPhone using LHCF
     
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  22. sweetvi

    sweetvi Well-Known Member

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    I believe something happened with her adoptive father to make her not open up with the adoptive mother. Either he abused her sexually or with the physical abuse, the mother seemed passive and probably turned a blind eye. As a result, mixed with her genetic issues, she learned not to trust anyone. Every One She Knew Failed her....

    Not saying what she did was okay, but I understand.

    How can the mother not know that this girl was extremely sexually active. I know kids can be sneaky but my mother was on my behind for everything At least I knew I couldn't get away with every thing!! When she dissappear ed with the pimp for days at a time, where was the adoptive mother??
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014
  23. Weezy Jefferson

    Weezy Jefferson Lil' Mama apologist

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    Thanks for posting, OP. A very interesting read/watch.
     
  24. prettynatural

    prettynatural Think, Do, Be

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    It saddens me that she will live well into her adult years in prison and will never have a normal life. The events that happened to her put her on the path.

    Self defense was ruled out because of how his body was found in the bed, it appeared as though he was sleeping because of the position of his hands and the distance of the weapon to the entry wound.


    What was interesting in this case, the jury never was told of her background and trauma. They didn't know of her rapes, and she had been raped twice that week prior to the death. What messed her up is that she talked to the police without parent or attorney present and in a phone call from the prison to her mom she said she executed the man. That was admitted in evidence. barbiesocialite iCandyc
     
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  25. LaBelleLL

    LaBelleLL Well-Known Member

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    this is a tragic story. i do agree she should serve time and definitely should not have been given life.

    i can't say though that i felt sympathy for her after watching the documentary. i felt for her when i first read the article however.
     
  26. prettynatural

    prettynatural Think, Do, Be

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    Yes! it is very sad.

    I stumbled on this documentary and it is a local case for me. I am familiar professionally with some of the judicial people and I do contract work with facilities for kids just like Cynthoia. I can see this case from all sides. I firmly believe the only way to help these kids and keep them out of the pipeline to jail is early intervention with families. When kids come to my facility it is a matter of when they will go into the adult system. Most kids like Cynthoia have family history of trauma and high levels of dysfunction and/or poor parenting. With it all said and done, I do believe that Cynthoia is were she suppose to be but not for life. I would support a something for kids to remain in state custody until 25 or 26 with job skills, intensive therapy, medical management and supervision once released to make sure they are adjusting well. The Forensic Psychiatrist normally works for the defense and testifies a lot for alleged child abusers and other questionable characters. There are many clinicians who do not look favorably on his work.
     
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  27. prettynatural

    prettynatural Think, Do, Be

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    Yep! My biggest pet peeve is the lack of post adoption therapy for the families to ensure healthy attachment. The first 3 years of life is so crucial and her's was filled with transition and instability. The issue is, she was in state's custody with intensive services. She was in Woodland Hills which is the most restrictive for kids, it's our baby jail. That tells me that her behavior was of much concern and she was there for 15 months, so once again, she had a lot of issues with authority and working her program. I know she had family work done but the adoptive mother was older and probably more permissive than need to be. Those cases are so frustrating. The parents don't realize how dangerous it is for their kids to parent this way. They are probably tired, exhausted and maybe they feel helpless to do anything.
     
  28. leona2025

    leona2025 Well-Known Member

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    My cousin is in a similar circumstance. She was 15 when she was sentenced to prison. I think she is about 21 now. When she was 15 she was dating this guy who was 19. I'm not sure how they met, but the boy was from a wealthy family and he was attending college.

    She set this boy up to be robbed by her friends and they ended up killing him. She had a hard upbringing. All her sisters did. Their mom was not a good mom and she was the baby. Everyone in our family took turns trying to take care of her before this happened.

    She even stayed with my mom, but I don't know if it was just already too late. She couldn't settle anywhere. There was always trouble. Honestly I don't think the average person knows how to help a person like that is already so deep in the wrong directions.

    I'm glad my cousin is in jail because I honestly believed it saved her life and possibly the life of someone else she could have hurt.
     
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  29. prettynatural

    prettynatural Think, Do, Be

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    Right! Is a person like this safe when they are out in the streets? Are people safe from them? Those are the questions. When someone has a gun, age doesn't matter, guns with anyone can lead to death. The wasted opportunity that these children have is sad. They can't see the forest for the trees. They are so caught up and with adults and other older people supporting and encouraging bad habits, they adopt that way of life and it's like hell to change the direction.
     
  30. nathansgirl1908

    nathansgirl1908 Well-Known Member

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    Way too much to read.

    She's probably where she needs to be. I'm over the young male and female thugs. I'm sorry they have hard lives, but when they start killing people, my sympathy ends.
     
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