Pieper Lewis Des Moines, Iowa teen escapes custody after deferred sentencing after stabbing alleged rapist, Zachary Brooks to death.
A former Iowa teen run-away and human trafficking victim who was sentenced to five years of probation earlier this year after stabbing her alleged rapist to death escaped custody at a women’s center in Des Moines on Friday.
Pieper Lewis, 18, walked out of the Fresh Start Women’s Center around 6:15 a.m. and cut off a GPS monitor, according to a probation violation report obtained by Local 5 ABC.
Come Monday morning, Lewis continued to remain at large and upon her capture now faced a possible two decades behind bars for violating probation she was ordered to serve at a correctional facility.
She was sentenced in September to five years of closely supervised probation and ordered to pay $150,000 to the family of 37-year-old Zachary Brooks.
Lewis said she stabbed Brooks to death in a fit of rage two years ago after he raped her multiple times when she was 15 years old. During testimony, Lewis told of Brooks sexually assaulting her weeks before she fatally stabbed her ongoing perpetrator who had taken the then 15 year old run-away in after fleeing an abusive foster home situation – only to sexually assault her and forcibly trafficking her on to other men for sex.
Iowa state not providing victims of sex trafficking criminal immunity
Prosecutors did not dispute that Lewis was a victim of sex trafficking, but argued that Brooks was asleep when he was stabbed and did not pose an immediate threat.
The $150,000 that Lewis was ordered to pay to Brooks’ family elicited widespread criticism, but the judge in the case said ‘this court is presented with no other option’ since restitution is mandatory under Iowa law.
Unlike dozens of other US states, Iowa does not have a law providing trafficking victims even a minimal level of criminal immunity.
A GoFundMe campaign created to pay that restitution raised well over half a million dollars.
The page was launched by her former math teacher Leland Schipper, who said the excess funds will go toward helping Lewis pursue an education or start a business – and give her the ability to help other victims of sex crimes.
Lewis faced up to 20 years in prison for pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and willful injury. Under the terms of her probation, those sentenced were deferred.
A probation violation report issued Friday said that her deferred judgments should be revoked and her original sentence should be imposed, according to the Des Moines Register.
During sentencing, prosecutors took issue with Lewis calling herself a victim and said she failed to take responsibility for stabbing Brooks and ‘leaving his kids without a father’.