Crime /

Teen Who Killed Alleged Rapist Ordered to Pay $150K to Man's Family

Man had allegedly raped her five times in the weeks before his death

A teenage human trafficking victim who stabbed her accused rapist to death has been sentenced to five years of supervised probation and  ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to the man’s family.

Pieper Lewis was a 15-year-old runaway when she met and was taken in by Zachary Brooks, 37, who allegedly trafficked her for sex in Iowa.

Lewis stabbed Brooks to death on June 1, 2020. She said he raped her five times in the weeks before she stabbed him more than 30 times. She was arrested a day after killing Brooks and was charged with first-degree murder.

Last year, she pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and willful injury, which are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

In addition to restitution for the man’s death, Lewis, now 17, was sentenced to five years probation on Sept. 13. Judge David M. Porter also ordered the teen to be housed at the Fresh Start Women’s Center in Des Moines in order to receive support and decrease the odds she will go back to her previous lifestyle.

Judge Porter deferred her prison sentences so she would only serve the 20-year prison term if she violates probation. He also granted her the possibility of having her record expunged after she satisfactorily completes probation.

At the sentencing hearing, Matthew S. Shelley, assistant state public defender who represented Lewis, told the court, “She stabbed this man multiple times, and the reason she did that was because she was put in a human trafficking situation,” the New York Times reported.

Lewis told the court she wished the killing had never taken place, but reiterated to the court that she too was a victim.

“I took a person’s life,” she said, according to the Times. “My intentions that day were not to just to go out and take somebody’s life. In my mind I felt that I wasn’t safe and I felt that I was in danger, which resulted in the acts. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that a crime was committed.”

She also told the court:

“My story can change things. My story has changed me. The events that took place on that horrific day cannot be changed, as much as I wish I could. That day a combination of complicated actions took place resulting in the death of a person, as well as a stolen innocence of a child.”

Judge Porter told her she was getting the “second chance” she’d asked for and assured her that her story may be able to inspire others.

“If you’re willing to tell that story in front of me and the members here in this courtroom, you should be willing and be able to tell that story to other young and vulnerable women in our community,” he said.

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