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Friends of man Cyntoia Brown killed not happy with clemency

FOX 17 News photo

Governor Haslam's decision to free convicted murderer Cyntoia Brown is a dream come true for her supporters.

But, not all are happy about the move.

Though FOX 17 News has aired interviews with several people who didn't think she deserved clemency, now that the decision is made, there are still more who want to speak on behalf of the man Brown killed, Johnny Allen.

Clemency, it’s the moment Brown supporters had waited for, but a bad day for those like Ben Lamb who knew Johnny Allen.

As pressure mounted from the very vocal Brown supporters, Lamb started a Facebook page in the last couple of weeks called “Friends Of Johnny Allen."

Lamb felt like Allen needed a bigger voice adding, “I honestly believe he was trying to help her and he was not trying to solicit her for prostitution that night.”

Lamb says Allen helped start a homeless ministry at his church Lakewood Baptist in Donelson. Allen, a realtor, had planned to meet Lamb to help him choose a house the day he died. Lamb says he tried calling and Allen didn’t answer. He never showed up.

Though the lead prosecutor against Brown back in 2004 also didn't think she deserved early release, Jeff Burks did confirm to FOX 17 News in previous interviews that Allen did solicit Brown for sex.

“You never tried to argue Mr. Allen didn't pick her up for sex?” Anchor Stacy Case asked.

“No, that was a fact from start to finish,” Prosecutor Burks answered.

Allen's friends say that's not what they believe of him.

“We believe he was trying to help her as he had been trying to help many others in the past,” Lamb said.

While in prison nearly half her life, Brown has gotten a degree from Lipscomb University and has mentored other young girls caught up in the sex trade.

One of Brown's pro bono attorneys said Brown "has had the most unbelievable transformation" he's ever seen.

Sadly, one way or another, Johnny Allen has changed Cyntoia Brown's life. There's no disputing that.

“In the end maybe his death had a purpose, a meaning," Lamb said. "He did help her. It's just not in the way he intended.”

FOX 17 News' coverage of the Cyntoia Brown clemency case, in conjunction with the documentary “Me Facing Life” by Daniel H. Birman Productions, gained worldwide attention in 2017 leading to an online petition to set her free. Stick with FOX 17 News for ongoing developments from all sides of this case.

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