A child sex trafficking survivor who was sent to prison at 17 for her role in the fatal shooting of her pimp has had her sentence commuted, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Friday.
When Alexis Martin was 15 in 2013, she collaborated with three adults to rob the home of her pimp, Angelo Kerney, in Akron, Ohio. Though Martin did not personally shoot Kerney, she was accused of distracting him "with dancing and sex" before he was killed, according to court documents.
She was convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to 21 years to life in prison.
Martin and her lawyer appealed her sentence in 2018, arguing the court failed to properly consider her history as a sex trafficking victim. But in a 6–1 vote, the court upheld her conviction, the Associated Press reported.
On Friday, DeWine announced that Martin, now 22, and six others would have their sentences commuted, partially in order to protect them from the spread of the coronavirus in prison.
DeWine called Martin's commutation a "particularly unique" case due to how young she was when she was sent to prison.
"She is a child sex trafficking survivor," DeWine said. "She will be sent to an appropriate group home, and she will be under supervision for an extensive period of time."
Martin walked free on Friday, her lawyer, Jennifer Kinsey, told BuzzFeed News. Outside the prison, she celebrated by doing a cartwheel.
Kinsey said Martin is now undergoing a therapeutic treatment program for sex trafficking survivors.
"We’re overjoyed that she’s free and she’s getting a second chance to move forward with her best life," Kinsey said.
Martin's case garnered national attention after she was highlighted in Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project, a documentary on Oxygen in which the star advocates for an end to mass incarceration.
On Friday, Kardashian West said she "was honored to be able to share her story on the Justice Project."
"Thank you Governor DeWine for commuting her sentence," she tweeted.
Kinsey, Martin's lawyer, said Kardashian West had been a "strong advocate" for Martin.
"She gave Alexis a lot of hope and encouragement through this process," Kinsey said.
Prison reform has been a major focus for Kardashian West in recent years, and she has successfully fought to free several people behind bars, most famously Alice Johnson, whom she lobbied for at the White House.
“She’s using her platform to shine a light on this issue,” Brittany K. Barnett, Kardashian West's personal lawyer and one of the creators of the Buried Alive Project, told BuzzFeed News in 2019. “She really helped us with the work we’ve already been doing, and she’s helping us amplify the voices of the people who are buried alive.”
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Kardashian West and her lawyers.