Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Pieper Lewis: Iowa teenager who killed rapist has to pay his family $150,000

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Pieper Lewis is an Iowa teenager who was prosecuted after she stabbed her rapist when she was 15, news outlets reported. She was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay Zachary Brooks’ family $150,000, according to the Des Moines Register. Now the public is teaming up with GoFundMe to help Lewis pay her fine.

Lewis was sentenced to five years’ probation and a suspended sentence, according to the Des Moines Register, which handled her case. The deferred sentence allows for her records to be erased if she successfully completes parole. She pled guilty to manslaughter and intentional assault in the murder of 37-year-old Brooks, the registry reported.

Officials said Lewis ran away from home to avoid abuse and she was sleeping in a hallway when a 28-year-old man picked her up, according to the Associated Press. He then violently negotiated them, forcing them to have sex with other men and sometimes threatening them with knife points, the AP reported. Among those men was Brooks, officials said, according to the AP. Officials said Brooks had previously raped her on multiple occasions and she stabbed him in a fit of rage after picking up a knife from the bedside table. According to the AP, she stabbed him more than 30 times.

Her GoFundMe has already exceeded the refund amount she owes.

Here’s what you need to know:

The judge overseeing Lewis’s case, Polk County District Judge David M. Porter, described her sentencing as “a second chance,” the Des Moines Register reported. He also ordered her to do 1,200 community service, which will cover a $4,000 fine, the newspaper reported. Porter sentenced Lewis on Tuesday September 13, 2022.

The Associated Press reported that Lewis had originally been charged with first-degree murder for the June 2020 murder. Involuntary manslaughter and intentional assault carry a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison, so Lewis could still be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison if she violates probation, the AP reported. She is now 17.

The restitution is required by Iowa state law, and Porter said “this court has no choice” but to order Lewis to pay Brooks’ estate.

The GoFundMe in support of Lewis was started by her first math teacher, Leland Schipper. As of Wednesday, September 14, at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time, more than $180,000 had been raised.

Schipper told the Des Moines Register he was overwhelmed by the support for Lewis and hoped the story would raise awareness of the law that has required the judge to refund teenagers’ salaries.

“Pieper’s case is so obvious to people as to why this law is flawed, but it is not unique in that this law is applied in a problematic manner,” Schipper told the Register. “It’s beautiful and it’s amazing.”

Schipper wrote on the GoFundMe page that his former student’s voice was powerful.

“Today, during her sentencing hearing, my former student Pieper Lewis bravely took the microphone and told the courtroom that her voice counted,” he wrote. “I was incredibly proud of her. She was powerful and she moved me to tears.”

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