Iowa teen who killed rapist sentenced, ordered to pay $150K

Sep 13, 2022, 2:49 AM | Updated: Sep 14, 2022, 5:45 am
Pieper Lewis gives her allocution during a sentencing hearing, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Des Moin...

Pieper Lewis gives her allocution during a sentencing hearing, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa. Lewis, who was initially charged with first-degree murder after she stabbed her accused rapist to death in June 2020, was sentenced to five years of closely supervised probation and ordered to pay $150,000 restitution to the man’s family. (Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Des Moines Register via AP)

(Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Des Moines Register via AP)

A teenage human trafficking victim who was initially charged with first-degree murder after she stabbed her accused rapist to death was sentenced Tuesday in an Iowa court to five years of closely supervised probation and ordered to pay $150,000 restitution to the man’s family.

Pieper Lewis, 17, was sentenced Tuesday after she pleaded last year to involuntary manslaughter and willful injury in the June 2020 killing of 37-year-old Zachary Brooks of Des Moines. Both charges were punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Polk County District judge David M. Porter on Tuesday deferred those prison sentences, meaning that if Lewis violates any portion of her probation, she could be sent to prison to serve that 20-year term.

As for being required to pay the estate of her rapist, “this court is presented with no other option,” Porter said, noting the restitution is mandatory under Iowa law that has been upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court.

Lewis was 15 when she stabbed Brooks more than 30 times in a Des Moines apartment. Officials have said Lewis was a runaway who was seeking to escape an abusive life with her adopted mother and was sleeping in the hallways of a Des Moines apartment building when a 28-year-old man took her in before forcibly trafficking her to other men for sex.

Lewis said one of those men was Brooks and that he had raped her multiple times in the weeks before his death. She recounted being forced at knifepoint by the 28-year-old man to go with Brooks to his apartment for sex. She told officials that after Brooks had raped her yet again, she grabbed a knife from a bedside table and stabbed Brooks in a fit of rage.

Police and prosecutors have not disputed that Lewis was sexually assaulted and trafficked. But prosecutors have argued that Brooks was asleep at the time he was stabbed and not an immediate danger to Lewis.

Iowa is not among the dozens of states that have a so-called safe harbor law that gives trafficking victims at least some level of criminal immunity.

Lewis, who earned her GED while being held in juvenile detention, acknowledged in a statement prior to her sentencing that she struggled with the structure of her detention, including “why I was treated like fragile glass” or wasn’t allowed to communicate with her friends or family.

“My spirit has been burned, but still glows through the flames,” she read from a statement she had prepared. “Hear me roar, see me glow, and watch me grow.”

“I am a survivor,” she added.

The Associated Press does not typically name victims of sexual assault, but Lewis agreed to have her name used previously in stories about her case.

Prosecutors took issue with Lewis calling herself a victim in the case and said she failed to take responsibility for stabbing Brooks and “leaving his kids without a father.”

The judge peppered Lewis with repeated requests to explain what poor choices she made that led up to Brooks’ stabbing and expressed concern that she sometimes did not want to follow rules set for her in juvenile lockup.

“The next five years of your life will be full of rules you disagree with, I’m sure of it,” Porter said. He later added, “This is the second chance that you’ve asked for. You don’t get a third.”

Karl Schilling with the Iowa Organization for Victim Assistance said a bill to create a safe harbor law for trafficking victims passed the Iowa House earlier this year, but stalled in the Senate under concerns from law enforcement groups that it was too broad.

“There was a working group established to iron out the issues,” Shilling said. “Hopefully it will be taken up again next year.”

Iowa does have an affirmative defense law that gives some leeway to victims of crime if the victim committed the violation “under compulsion by another’s threat of serious injury, provided that the defendant reasonably believed that such injury was imminent.”

Prosecutors argued Tuesday that Lewis waived that affirmative defense when she pleaded guilty to manslaughter and willful injury.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo from Flickr...
Associated Press

Washington kills 2 wolves to prevent preying on cattle

Biologists working for Washington have killed two members of the Leadpoint wolf pack this week in an effort to stop the pack from preying on cattle
9 hours ago
A demonstrator dressed in the colors of the Brazilian flag performs in front of a street vendor's t...
Associated Press

Hardship for Brazil’s poor may cost Bolsonaro election

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s presidential election will be decided by tens of millions of poor people, and they look set to eject incumbent Jair Bolsonaro from office — either in Sunday’s first round or in a runoff.. The far-right leader is reminding them of his pandemic welfare program that morphed into a monthly handout […]
1 day ago
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Healt...
Associated Press

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the facts: ___ Ukrainian family killed in Russian attack, despite denials CLAIM: Grave markers for a […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Myanmar accuses rebels in east of shooting passenger plane

BANGKOK (AP) — Myanmar’s military government accused rebel forces in the eastern state of Kayah of firing at a passenger plane as it was preparing to land Friday, wounding a passenger who was hit by a bullet that penetrated the fuselage. Rebel groups denied the allegation. State television MRTV said the Myanmar National Airlines plane, […]
1 day ago
FILE - Only a few scoops are left in a mother's next to last can of baby formula in Laurel, Md., on...
Associated Press

US outlines plan for long-term baby formula imports

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. regulators on Friday unveiled their plan to allow foreign baby formula manufacturers to stay on the market long term, an effort to diversify the nation’s tightly concentrated industry and prevent future shortages. The Food and Drug Administration said recent entrants to the U.S. market will have until October 2025 to make […]
1 day ago
FILE - Firearms training unit Det. Barbara J. Mattson, of the Connecticut State Police, holds up a ...
Associated Press

Gun owners, rights groups challenge Connecticut firearms ban

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Citing a U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this year, gun rights groups and firearms owners have launched another attempt to overturn Connecticut’s ban on certain semiautomatic rifles that was enacted in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. A new lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court by three gun […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Iowa teen who killed rapist sentenced, ordered to pay $150K