The story is about Cyntoia Brown having been sentenced to life for killing Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old man. Brown had been forced into prostitution by her abusive boyfriend and claimed that she was afraid that she was going to be killed by Allen.
Cyntoia Brown, the subject of the documentary, had been given up for adoption by her biological mother, Georgina Mitchell when she was two years old. Her biological mother and maternal grandmother, Joan Warren, had difficult lives, a pattern which—”seemingly predestined by biology and circumstance”—was repeated in Brown’s childhood. Warren was raped at the age of 19, which resulted in the birth of Georgina, who was not wanted. When Georgina became pregnant with Cyntoia, she continued to drink up to a fifth of liquor each day and in the eighth month of pregnancy began using crack cocaine. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, obtained by babies born to mothers who abuse alcohol, can “result in poor impulse control and a disconnect between thought and action.” Brown lived in several foster homes before she was adopted by Ellenette Brown. Even though Ellenette Brown provided a generally stable home, Cyntoia had not had sufficient stability in her life for proper emotional development and by 2004 had become a runaway.
Sixteen-year-old Cyntoia Brown’s sexual encounters had included many rapes, assaults during or before sex, and times when she was under the influence of drugs. Brown had a physically and sexually abusive boyfriend named “Cut-throat”, who brandished guns at her and forced her into prostitution. Brown was picked up by a 43-year-old real estate agent, Johnny Allen and taken to his house on August 6, 2004. Brown stated that for several weeks leading up to that day, she had been repeatedly raped and was on drugs. When she arrived at Allen’s house, she found it was full of guns. Brown said that she was afraid that she would be shot, which led her to shoot and kill Allen. Sixteen-year-old Cyntoia Brown was then arrested for Allen’s murder.