Teenager Who Killed Her Rapist Is Ordered To Pay $150,000
When she was only 15 years old, Pieper Lewis was forced at knifepoint to go with 37-year-old Zachary Brooks. After he repeatedly raped her on June 1, 2020, she was “overcome with rage” and stabbed Brooks 30 times, killing him.
Pieper Lewis was only 15 years old when she ran away from an unstable and unhappy home life in Des Moines, Iowa. She met 28-year-old Christopher Brown, who took her in, and she considered him her boyfriend.
However, Brown ended up forcing her to have sex with other men for money, according to court documents reported in The New York Times.
On the night of May 31, 2020, when she was still only 15, Lewis was forced at knifepoint to go with 37-year-old Zachary Brooks. He had raped her in the past, she said on the stand, and that night he plied her with drugs and alcohol before repeatedly raping her, The Washington Post reported.
In the early morning hours of June 1, 2020, Lewis woke up after another sexual assault. “I suddenly realized that Mr. Brooks had raped me yet again and was overcome with rage,” Lewis stated. In that stage of rage, she stabbed Brooks 30 times and killed him.
On Sept. 13, 2022, Judge David M. Porter, of the Polk County District Court, sentenced Lewis to five years of probation without early release. Now 17 years old, Lewis will be placed in a residential facility called the Fresh Start Women’s Center in Des Moines, Iowa, and she will have to wear a GPS tracking device. Judge Porter said that was decided to help prevent her from falling “back into the lifestyle that you thus far left.”
In 2021, Lewis pleaded guilty to both willful injury and involuntary manslaughter. Both charges could carry sentences of up to 10 years in prison. With the probation decision, Judge Porter deferred those sentences. If Lewis violates any part of her parole, though, the 20-year prison term could be enforced.
Also, in a decision that has garnered some criticism, Judge Porter also ordered Lewis to pay $150,000. Judge Porter stated that the court was “presented with no other option” than to require Lewis to pay the estate of her rapist, reported The Associated Press. This is due to restitution being required by the law in Iowa that has been upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court.
“No matter what the judge’s decision is today, I will still prevail. Nothing can stop a positive path of progress but negativity and doubt. During my journey, I have found part of the spiritual world and its beauty. I have progressed with the ability to lead with the power of many while maintaining self-worth,” Lewis said on the stand, according to The New York Times.
Lewis added that she is a survivor and compared herself to a “Phoenix” during her statement.
“This means I face rape, abuse, hatred, betrayal, manipulation, abandonment, loss of a parent, loneliness,” she said. “I wonder what else I will carry in that sack of beautiful pain,” The New York Times reported.
When asked if she made mistakes, Lewis stated, “I took a person’s life. 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.”