Tragic life of sex trafficking victim
Cyntoia Brown was 16 and living with a man who went by the name Cut Throat who subjected her to beatings and rape.
It was 2004, and she had run away from her adopted family to live in a hotel room with Cut Throat, who wasted no time selling her to other men for sex.
It was one night when she was being paid $150 for sex with a man she met at a fast food restaurant that her life changed forever.
In short, Cyntoia killed the man, John Michael Allen. She shot the 43-year-old real estate agent dead in Nashville with a gun she bought for protection and had hidden in her purse. She never denied pulling the trigger - rather it was why she did that set her on a collision course with police and prosecutors who wanted to lock her up for life.
She was convicted of first degree murder and aggravated robbery - the jury did not believe her claims of self-defence and in 2006 she was jailed for life. She confirmed she shot Allen at close range in the back of the head because he kept reaching under the bed, and she feared it was for a gun.
"He just gave me this look. It was, like, a very fierce look," she said in a 2011 documentary.
"But then, he rolls over, like he's reaching to the side of the bed or something. So I'm thinking, 'He's not going to hit me, he's going to get a gun'."
Her argument was not helped by the fact she took his guns and money, and escaped the scene in his truck. Under Tennessee law, she would not have been eligible for parole for a minimum of 51 years.
Her life, it seemed, was all but over. But then a campaign to free her began, backed by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna who began posting on social media using the #FreeCyntoiaBrown hashtag.
Snoop Dogg and LeBron James also lobbied for her release, while Kardashian raised Brown's case with US President Donald Trump during a high-profile meeting in May last year.
Their intervention led to a clemency bid which - after a number of legal twists and turns - led to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam deciding to grant Brown's request, saying her case was "tragic and complex".
"Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16," Mr Haslam said in a statement confirming her clemency.
"Yet, imposing a life sentence on a juvenile that would require her to serve at least 51 years before even being eligible for parole consideration is too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms Brown has taken to rebuild her life."
Her lawyers - no doubt boosted by the massive publicity the A-listers provided - said she deserved clemency because she was the victim of sex trafficking who feared she would be killed, but also lacked the mental capacity to be legally culpable in the killing because she was impaired by her mother's alcohol use during pregnancy.
In 2017, as the campaign gathered steam, Rihanna posted on Instagram: "Did we somehow change the definition of #Justice along the way?" a post that attracted a staggering two million likes.
During her time locked away, the US Supreme Court would rule that mandatory life sentences for juveniles was unconstitutional, but it wasn't until now Brown was finally freed.
Her face "lit up" with joy when she heard the news from Charles Bone, one of her lawyers, who told her immediately when he saw her, "You are getting out in August."
"She deserves this, and deserves the full credit for it," Mr Bone told the New York Times.
Brown's jailing and subsequent release has reignited the debate about how issues of race play out in criminal justice in the US.
Brittany Paschall, of Black Lives Matter Nashville, said Brown "should have never seen the inside of a cage".
"Today is just a glimpse into a world in which all black lives matter, a world in which black women and girls are free," Ms Paschall said in a statement. "It is in this world that none of our people are criminalised, especially not for defending themselves against people threatening to harm them."
Her path to total freedom will be a rocky one though.
Brown, now 31, had to met with prison counsellors to draw up a plan for her release, which will include spending time in a transition centre, but she vowed to make the most of her second shot at life.
"I thank Governor and First Lady Haslam for their vote of confidence in me and with the Lord's help I will make them, as well as the rest of my supporters, proud," she said in a statement.
Now she is free, the eyes of the world - and no doubt her celebrity backers - will be watching her every move.