|A teenage human trafficking victim initially charged with first-degree murder after stabbing her accused rapist to death was sentenced Tuesday in an Iowa court to five years of closely supervised probation and ordered to pay $150,000 restitution to the man’s family.
A GoFundMe page set up for the teen has raised more than the full amount of restitution she owes.
Pieper Lewis, 17, was sentenced Tuesday after she pleaded last year to involuntary manslaughter and willful injury in the June 2020 killing of 37-year-old Zachary Brooks of Des Moines. Both charges were punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Polk County District Judge David M. Porter on Tuesday deferred those prison sentences, meaning that if Lewis violates any portion of her probation, she could be sent to prison to serve that 20-year term.
As for being required to pay the estate of her rapist, “This court is presented with no other option,” Porter said, noting the restitution is mandatory under Iowa law that has been upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court.
As of Wednesday morning, the GoFundMe set up to help Lewis pay the restitution she owes to Brooks’ family had raised over $168,000. The highest single donation came in the amount of $5,000 from an anonymous donor.
Lewis was 15 when she stabbed Brooks more than 30 times in a Des Moines apartment. Officials have said Lewis was a runaway who was seeking to escape an abusive life with her adopted mother and was sleeping in the hallways of a Des Moines apartment building when a 28-year-old man took her in before forcibly trafficking her to other men for sex.
Lewis said one of those men was Brooks and that he had raped her multiple times in the weeks before his death. She recounted being forced at knifepoint by the 28-year-old man to go with Brooks to his apartment for sex.
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