ONLY ON 3: Local woman thanks former Gov. Bill Haslam for granting her clemency
A local woman is thanking former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam for granting her clemency.
Michelle Martin spent 16 years in prison for killing her father in Bledsoe County in 2001.
In 2018, Haslam pardoned her 25-year sentence.
It's been six months since Martin walked out of prison a free woman.
"Having to start over a complete new life at 39 is hard," Martin said.
Martin said she killed her father after enduring years of abuse. Now, she is learning how to live life again.
"It's been hard and good all at the same time," she said. "I had no idea about technology for 16 years."
Martin's life transformation started while she was behind bars through getting her G.E.D. and earning a degree from Libscomb University.
She was also active in personal growth programs and served as a mentor to other inmates.
These are all reasons Haslam pointed to for granting clemency.
"He gave me an opportunity to have a life that I never would have had," she said.
Martin remains focused on moving forward with dreams of becoming an advocate for women who are incarcerated and hopes that through her story she can show others that you can overcome anything.
"I wanted to set an example for my children too that it doesn't matter what happens in your life, you can always find a way to better yourself," she said.
Martin's mother also pleaded guilty in the case.
She completed a 144-day sentence.
Martin's boyfriend at the time was also charged.
He passed away before his case went to trial.