TV & Movies

Mark Your Calendars, Netflix Is About To Drop The Most Controversial True Crime Doco Of The Year

By Morgan Reardon
20th Apr 2020

Cyntoia Brown wearing a prison uniform sits in court, next to her lawyer.

If the name Cyntoia Brown doesn’t ring a bell, her face certainly will. Just last year, celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West were using their celebrity platform to plead with the US government to grant Brown clemency after she was sentenced to life in prison back in 2004 for armed robbery and murder. 

Why the outrage? Let’s rewind. After an incredibly tough childhood that saw Brown adopted out by her drug addict mother, in an out of the juvenile system and eventually homeless, she found herself lured into sex trafficking by her then-boyfriend, a pimp called Kut Throat. When Brown was just 16, she shot and killed 43-year-old Johnny Allen who had picked her up for sex. She alleged it was in self-defence but despite her young age the courts said she murdered him in cold blood while trying to rob him and sentenced her to life in prison. That meant she’d need to serve at least 51 years before being eligible for parole. 

Just days after her arrest, documentarian Dan Birman began recording her story and now, a decade later, his work will premiere on Netflix in documentary Murder To Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story. 

According to Netflix, the doco will explore the complexity of Brown—who was the product of three generations of violence against women in her biological family—and how in 2019, after nearly 10 years of legal challenges, Governor Bill Haslam granted her request for clemency. 

So why all the controversy? Well, according to Brown, she wasn’t included in the making of the documentary. She recently tweeted, “While I was still incarcerated, a producer who has old footage of me made a deal with Netflix for an UNAUTHORISED documentary, set to be released soon. My husband and I were as surprised as everyone else when we first heard the news because we did not participate in any way.”

Interested? We thought so. Check out the trailer below.

Murder To Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story drops on Netflix, Wednesday 29 April. 

Image Credit: Netflix

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