A teenage human trafficking sufferer who was initially charged with first-degree homicide after she stabbed her accused rapist to dying 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 12 months to involuntary manslaughter and willful damage within the June 2020 killing of 37-year-old Zachary Brooks of Des Moines. Both costs had been punishable by as much as 10 years in jail.
Polk County District choose David M. Porter on Tuesday deferred these jail sentences, that 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 offered with no different choice,” Porter mentioned, noting the restitution is obligatory below Iowa legislation that has been upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court.
Lewis was 15 when she stabbed Brooks greater than 30 occasions in a Des Moines residence. Officials have mentioned Lewis was a runaway who was looking for to flee an abusive life along with her adopted mom and was sleeping within the hallways of a Des Moines residence constructing when a 28-year-old man took her in earlier than forcibly trafficking her to different males for intercourse.
Lewis mentioned a kind of males was Brooks and that he had raped her a number of occasions within the weeks earlier than his dying. She recounted being compelled at knifepoint by the 28-year-old man to go together with Brooks to his residence for intercourse. She advised 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. But prosecutors have argued that Brooks was asleep on the time he was stabbed and never a direct hazard to Lewis.
Iowa will not be among the many dozens of states which have a so-called secure harbor legislation that provides trafficking victims not less than some degree of felony immunity.
Lewis, who earned her GED whereas being held in juvenile detention, acknowledged in an announcement 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 mates or household.
“My spirit has been burned, however nonetheless glows by the flames,” she learn from an announcement she had ready. “Hear me roar, see me glow, and watch me develop.”
“I’m a survivor,” she added.
The Associated Press doesn’t usually title victims of sexual assault, however Lewis agreed to have her title used beforehand in tales about her case.
Prosecutors took concern with Lewis calling herself a sufferer within the case and mentioned she did not take duty for stabbing Brooks and “leaving his children and not using a father.”
The choose peppered Lewis with repeated requests to clarify what poor decisions she made that led as much as Brooks’ stabbing and expressed concern that she generally didn’t need to observe guidelines set for her in juvenile lockup.
“The subsequent 5 years of your life shall be filled with guidelines you disagree with, I’m positive of it,” Porter mentioned. He later added, “This is the second likelihood that you just’ve requested for. You don’t get a 3rd.”
Karl Schilling with the Iowa Organization for Victim Assistance mentioned a invoice to create a secure harbor legislation for trafficking victims handed the Iowa House earlier this 12 months, however stalled within the Senate below considerations from legislation enforcement teams that it was too broad.
“There was a working group established to iron out the problems,” Shilling mentioned. “Hopefully will probably be taken up once more subsequent 12 months.”
Iowa does have an affirmative protection legislation that provides some leeway to victims of crime if the sufferer dedicated the violation “below compulsion by one other’s menace of great damage, offered that the defendant fairly believed that such damage was imminent.”
Prosecutors argued Tuesday that Lewis waived that affirmative protection when she pleaded responsible to manslaughter and willful damage.