Imagine being 17 and sent to jail for life without parole. For one California teen that was her reality after being convicted of murder -- a killing she admits she did.

But that is just small part of Sara Kruzan's story.

Imagine standing before a judge, the rest of your life being determined by the decisions you made as a teenager.

It wasn't an imaginary scenario for Sara Kruzan and the decision she made was to shoot a man dead -- a man who seemed like the devil himself.

Talent, beauty, intelligence -- in a different life, there's no telling how far these traits might have taken young Sara Kruzan of Riverside, California.

"My home was like a war zone. So my mother she suffered from borderline personality disorder. There was a lot of physical violence, there was a lot of emotional violence," said Sara.

Despite the unimaginable horror that was her every day, Sara managed to excel.

"School came to me very easy," said Sara. "It was an excellent outlet for me for the trouble I was experiencing in my home."

But there's only so much one person can fight. Especially a young girl with no positive role models.

She was eventually forced into a life of prostitution at 13 at the hands of a Riverside, California pimp.

But at 16 years old, an age when most kids are only beginning to understand the world, Sara was about to make a violent life change.