Pieper Lewis: Iowa teen who stabbed her rapist to death when she was 15 escapes from custody
Pieper Lewis, now 18, was sentenced to five years of closely supervised probation in September 2022 after pleading guilty to manslaughter
DES MOINES, IOWA: An Iowa teen who stabbed her alleged rapist to death at the age of 15 has escaped custody at a women’s center in Des Moines, violating the probation orders she was given when she pled guilty to manslaughter, Des Moines Register reports.
Pieper Lewis, now 18, was sentenced to five years of closely supervised probation in September this year after she pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and stabbing her alleged rapist Zachary Brooks in a fit of rage in June 2020. However, just two months after the verdict, Lewis escaped from the Fresh Start Women’s Centre on Friday, November 4 at around 6.19 am after cutting off her GPS device, Jerry Evans, the district’s executive director, told CNN.
Officials realized the teen had escaped after a warning alarm indicated someone had opened a door at the facility. An on-duty officer even witnessed Lewis leaving, Evans revealed. “At this time, her whereabouts are unknown,” the officials said. They have also filed a violation report recommending revoking her probation order. “A warrant for her arrest was subsequently issued that remains outstanding,” Evans said. The probation violation could lead to Lewis spending around two decades in prison.
In a plea in 2020, Lewis said she ran away from her abusive house several times and once ended up on the streets in front of a dangerous apartment complex in Des Moines. There, a man named Christopher Brown, who claimed to be her boyfriend, gave her shelter and made her a dating profile. He forced her to have sex with other men for money. The same year, Brown allegedly held a knife against her throat to force her to see Brooks, who gave her intoxicants and raped her at least 30 times, her lawyers had said.
Prosecutors did not dispute that Lewis was a victim of sex trafficking but argued she stabbed Brooks when he was sleeping, which meant he did not pose an immediate threat. After a long legal battle, Polk County District Judge David Porter sentenced Lewis to five years of supervised probation, recognizing the two years she already spent at a juvenile facility and the violence she was subjected to.
The court also ordered her to pay $150,000 to the Brooks family. The order sparked a wave of outrage against the court but Porter said, “This court is presented with no other option.” Many citizens then came to Lewis’ support and her ex-math teacher Leland Schipper even created a GoFundMe page to help her. The page helped Lewis garner the compensation money within a day and raised more than $550,000 which was used to cover her legal and other expenses.