A teenage human trafficking sufferer who was initially charged with first-degree homicide after she stabbed her accused rapist to demise was sentenced Tuesday in an Iowa court docket to 5 years of carefully supervised probation and ordered to pay $150,000 restitution to the person’s household.
Pieper Lewis, 17, was sentenced Tuesday after she pleaded final yr to involuntary manslaughter and willful damage within the June 2020 killing of 37-year-old Zachary Brooks of Des Moines. Each expenses have been punishable by as much as 10 years in jail.
Polk County District choose David M. Porter on Tuesday deferred these jail sentences, which means that if Lewis violates any portion of her probation, she may very well be despatched to jail to serve that 20-year time period.
As for being required to pay the property of her rapist, “this court docket is introduced with no different choice,” Porter stated, noting the restitution is necessary underneath Iowa regulation that has been upheld by the Iowa Supreme Courtroom.
Lewis was 15 when she stabbed Brooks greater than 30 occasions in a Des Moines condo. Officers have stated Lewis was a runaway who was in search of to flee an abusive life along with her adopted mom and was sleeping within the hallways of a Des Moines condo constructing when a 28-year-old man took her in earlier than forcibly trafficking her to different males for intercourse.
Lewis stated a kind of males was Brooks and that he had raped her a number of occasions within the weeks earlier than his demise. She recounted being compelled at knifepoint by the 28-year-old man to go along with Brooks to his condo for intercourse. She instructed officers that after Brooks had raped her but once more, she grabbed a knife from a bedside desk and stabbed Brooks in a match of rage.
Police and prosecutors haven’t disputed that Lewis was sexually assaulted and trafficked. However prosecutors have argued that Brooks was asleep on the time he was stabbed and never a direct hazard to Lewis.
Iowa isn’t among the many dozens of states which have a so-called secure harbor regulation that offers trafficking victims a minimum of some degree of prison immunity.
‘I’m a survivor’
Lewis, who earned her GED whereas being held in juvenile detention, acknowledged in a press release previous to her sentencing that she struggled with the construction of her detention, together with “why I used to be handled like fragile glass” or wasn’t allowed to speak along with her pals or household.
“My spirit has been burned, however nonetheless glows via the flames,” she learn from a press release she had ready. “Hear me roar, see me glow, and watch me develop.”
“I’m a survivor,” she added.
The Related Press doesn’t usually identify victims of sexual assault, however Lewis agreed to have her identify used beforehand in tales about her case.
Prosecutors took problem with Lewis calling herself a sufferer within the case and stated she didn’t take duty for stabbing Brooks and “leaving his youngsters and not using a father.”
The choose peppered Lewis with repeated requests to elucidate what poor decisions she made that led as much as Brooks’ stabbing and expressed concern that she typically didn’t wish to observe guidelines set for her in juvenile lockup.
“The subsequent 5 years of your life will probably be filled with guidelines you disagree with, I’m positive of it,” Porter stated. He later added, “That is the second probability that you simply’ve requested for. You don’t get a 3rd.”
Karl Schilling with the Iowa Group for Sufferer Help stated a invoice to create a secure harbor regulation for trafficking victims handed the Iowa Home earlier this yr, however stalled within the Senate underneath issues from regulation enforcement teams that it was too broad.
“There was a working group established to iron out the problems,” Shilling stated. “Hopefully will probably be taken up once more subsequent yr.”
Iowa does have an affirmative protection regulation that offers some leeway to victims of crime if the sufferer dedicated the violation “underneath compulsion by one other’s risk of great damage, offered that the defendant moderately believed that such damage was imminent.”
Prosecutors argued Tuesday that Lewis waived that affirmative protection when she pleaded responsible to manslaughter and willful damage.