California Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to free Sara Kruzan, now 35, after signing in January a law requiring parole boards to give special consideration to juveniles tried as adults.
Kruzan killed George Gilbert Howard in a motel room in Riverside County on March 9, 1994. She was arrested and convicted of first-degree murder the next May, and was sentenced to prison for life without possibility of parole, since Howard was killed during a robbery and Kruzan was lying in wait for him.
But the circumstances of Kruzan's case put her in the spotlight for judicial reform advocates. Kruzan had allegedly been groomed from the age of 11 to work for Howard as a child prostitute, and some said she suffered from Battered Persons Syndrome.
In 2011, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted Kruzan's sentence, reducing it to 25 years with the possibility of parole, and in January, a Riverside judge reduce her conviction to second-degree manslaughter with a sentence of 15 plus 4 years -- her time served -- making her eligible for immediate release.
"It is justice long overdue," said Sen. Leland Yee, a Democrat from San Francisco, who became a champion of Kruzan's cause.
Hers was the "perfect example of adults who failed her, of society failing her," Yee said. "You had a predator who stalked her, raped her, forced her into prostitution, and there was no one around."
A parole board recommended Kruzan's release in June, and on Friday, the governor's office said he would allow the order to go forward without his signature.