Cyntoia Brown featured on ABC’s ‘Nightline’

Cyntoia Brown featured on ABC’s ‘Nightline’

Governor Bill Haslam announced last week that he would be granting clemency to Lipscomb graduate Cyntoia Brown. Since then, mixed reactions to Haslam’s decision have been broadcasted across the country. Wednesday night, Brown’s story was featured on ABC’s “Nightline”, a late-night news program. The story examined everything from the factors that led to her sentence to the next steps to come after her release in August 2019. The broadcast highlighted moments from the documentary Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s story. The story was brought to Lipscomb’s campus in 2010, while Brown was working towards her associate’s degree from the University. The film was shown to Lipscomb students free of charge for the HumanDocs series that aimed to “encourage dialogue among students, faculty, and community members about pressing issues of social and economic justice and the environment.” The HumanDocs film series included a panel discussion with several notable figures in Brown’s case, including Lipscomb professor Preston Shipp, a former appellate prosecutor for Brown’s case who ended up becoming her teacher through the LIFE Program. Shipp’s coincidental presence in Brown’s life was highlighted in Nightline’s story. He once argued in favor of a life sentence for Brown. However, during Cyntoia’s July hearing, Shipp argued for her release. “If you grant her early release, she is going to invest herself [in people] who might otherwise come to [the Tennessee Woman’s Prison],” Shipp said. “She will seek them out. She will find them. She will mentor and minister to them, and she will keep other people from coming here.” Nightline reports that a sequel to the documentary, Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s story, will be released later this year, focusing on Brown’s journey to...
BREAKING: Gov. Bill Haslam grants clemency to Lipscomb grad Cyntoia Brown

BREAKING: Gov. Bill Haslam grants clemency to Lipscomb grad Cyntoia Brown

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced Monday morning that clemency will be granted to Cyntoia Brown. Brown is a Nashville woman who has spent 15 years behind bars for a murder she committed at age 16. She is expected to be released on parole on Aug. 7, 2019. The conditions of her parole say that she will have to attend regular counseling sessions, work with at-risk youth and maintain a job. Haslam’s decision to grant Brown clemency comes after a year of mounting pressure from activists, celebrities and Tennessee legislators. “This decision comes after careful consideration of what is a tragic and complex case,” Haslam said in a statement. “Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16. 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. “Transformation should be accompanied by hope. So, I am commuting Ms. Brown’s sentence, subject to certain conditions.” In 2015, Brown earned an associate’s degree through Lipscomb University’s LIFE program, which brings traditional and non-traditional students together for classes at the Tennessee Prison for Women. She issued a statement thanking both the Tennessee Department of Corrections and Lipscomb for the opportunity. “I want to thank those at the Tennessee Department of Corrections who saw something in me worth salvaging, especially Ms. Connie Seabrooks for allowing me to participate in the Lipscomb LIFE Program,” Brown said. “It changed my life. I am also grateful to those at the Tennessee Department...
Lipscomb LIFE Program graduate Cyntoia Brown seeks clemency from Gov. Haslam

Lipscomb LIFE Program graduate Cyntoia Brown seeks clemency from Gov. Haslam

With Governor Bill Haslam’s term ending only weeks away, activists across the country are strongly calling on him to take one last major act in office and grant clemency to Lipscomb graduate Cyntoia Brown. In Nashville, Metro Council members voted Thursday to officially request Haslam to grant clemency to Brown. She was 16 years old when she was tried as an adult and convicted of first-degree murder and robbery. In 2015, Brown graduated from Lipscomb with an associate degree through Lipscomb’s LIFE program. Rob Touchstone, a Lipscomb professor who taught Brown, spoke to the Tennessean about his experiences with Cyntoia. He told the Tennessean that Brown was “One of the best students I’ve had the blessing of teaching,” and he believes Brown is “using this experience that none of us could even imagine to become a better person.” However, controversy surrounds her life sentencing in multiple ways. Some argue that human trafficking is what led Brown to commit the crime. The defense argued that Brown was forced into prostitution after a life of abuse. In her testimony, Brown described being picked up by Johnny Mitchell Allen, a 43-year-old Nashville real estate agent. When the crime occurred, Brown said she believed he was reaching for a gun and intended to do her harm. Threatened for her safety, Brown shot and killed Allen in what she says was an act of self-defense. “Robbery” is what solidified the prosecutor’s case against Brown. After shooting Allen, Brown is reported to have stolen cash from his wallet. The prosecution used this to argue that the crime was a robbery rather than an act of self-defense....
Man dies outside residence near campus

Man dies outside residence near campus

An incident occurred involving a man getting severely injured outside a residence close to Lipscomb’s campus on Thursday night. As a result of his injuries, the man died after being transported to the hospital. The incident began across the street near the intersection of Shackleford Road and Granny White Pike. Erin Duruelle, an individual who lives across the street, posted to NextDoor last night about the incident. In a post titled “Severe Trespassing in Green Hills Home,” Duruelle went on to describe the incident that left her “in shock.” “A police officer showed up at my home in Green Hills reporting that man had impaled himself on my back wrought iron gate and lost his pants in the process,” Durelle wrote. “He bled walking from my backyard to our courtyard (naked the entire time) and bled profusely before walking back to the gate and leaving.” Duruelle reported she was unaware of the incident until she was alerted by police. “There is blood everywhere in my courtyard and I am in shock…He was found, but I never thought this would have happened on my property here.” Lipscomb Vice President of Public Relations Kim Chaudoin provided a statement on behalf of the university: “The university is so sorry for the loss and hope he is identified soon so that his family can be notified,” Chaudoin said. “Our prayers are with them.” Lipscomb student Destiny Talatham was stuck in the traffic caused by the incident. “I see Patrick Cameron on the pond side with a flash light and [he] seemed to be searching for something on the pond hillside,” Talatham said, recalling...
Lipscomb professor releases final installment in ‘Bohemian Gospel’ trilogy

Lipscomb professor releases final installment in ‘Bohemian Gospel’ trilogy

Dana Carpenter was in third grade when she discovered her talent for storytelling. While waiting for the school bus, she excitedly told stories to classmates and watched as their facial expressions reflected the emotions she was narrating. “I’d always come in with a fresh story, and it was always exhilarating to watch their faces react to being scared, sad or happy,” Carpenter said about her early experiences writing. Carpenter continued writing all the way through her high school years, but “chickened out” after arriving to college. Her unfamiliarity with writers on campus led her to dive into academics and put creative writing to the side. It wasn’t until she was working on her PhD at the University of Mississippi that she rediscovered her passion for writing. “My father who was a crop-duster was killed in a plane accident on Father’s Day weekend,” Carpenter said. After returning to school after the horrific accident, she spent her days working on her dissertation in the school library. With the difficult experience still on her mind, she found herself drawn to the library’s old records and census data. “I immersed myself in the genealogy of my dad’s family” Carpenter said. When she was growing up, Carpenter noted that her father would always tell her “write my story for me someday.” She found herself doing just that, researching during 15-minute study breaks that turned into 4-hour long dives into her family history. The microfilms and census data revitalized her Dad’s stories. “I felt him there, and it was like he was giving me my dream back.” Once Carpenter began teaching American Literature at Lipscomb,...