Cyntoia Brown, the sex trafficking victim who served 13 years for killing a man when she was 16, had a whirlwind time during her first weekend of freedom. In fact, she apparently got married.
She was released from prison last Wednesday, August 7, the Tennessee Department of Correction said in a statement. And by Saturday, August 10, it appears she got married to Christian rapper J. Long.
Wes Yoder, a representative for Brown-Long, which Yoder said is now her name, confirmed to NBC News Monday that the two are now married. Yoder declined to give further information but indicated details will be revealed in an upcoming book called "Free Cyntoia," scheduled for release Oct. 15.
Long was a member of the ‘90s hip-hop group Pretty Ricky before he started a solo venture, according to The Tennessean. He’s also the grandson of guitarist Curtis Long. The only photos on Long’s Instagram appear to show the couple’s wedding. Brown-Long is wearing white and a ring, and both are wearing matching cross necklaces.
As a teen, Brown-Long was living in a Nashville hotel with a 24-year-old pimp called “Kut Throat,” who allegedly forced her into sex trafficking.
In 2004, when Brown-Long was just 16, a 43-year-old real estate agent Johnny Allen paid for sex with her. After going to his Nashville home and getting into bed together, Brown-Long fatally shot Allen with a handgun she carried in her purse. She said she was acting in self defense and shot him because she thought he was grabbing a gun when he reached his hand under the bed. After she shot him, she took his wallet, his truck and two firearms, according to court documents.
Though the murder happened when she was a teen, Brown-Long was tried as an adult and convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, and aggravated robbery. Depicted by prosecutors as a cold-blooded killer, she received a life sentence in 2006.
But, over the years, the public perception of Brown-Long appeared to change from cold-blooded killer to victim as her story became more widely known. Brown-Long’s case was the subject of a PBS documentary in 2011, "Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story."
In recent years, celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and Lebron James have rallied for her release. Kardashian brought major attention to the case in 2017 with a tweet that stated in part, “The system has failed. It’s heart breaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life! We have to do better & do what’s right. I’ve called my attorneys yesterday to see what can be done to fix this.#FreeCyntoiaBrown”
In January, Brown-Long was granted clemency.
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