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Pieper Lewis: Iowa Teen Who Killed Rapist Has To Pay $150,000 To His Family

Pieper Lewis is an Iowa teen who was prosecuted after stabbing her rapist to death when she was 15, news outlets reported. She was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay $150,000 to Zachary Brooks’ family, according to the Des Moines Register. Now the public is teaming up with a GoFundMe to help Lewis pay her fine.

Lewis was sentenced to five years’ probation and given a deferred sentence, according to the Des Moines Register, which has heard her case. Deferred judgment allows her record to be smashed if she successfully completes probation. She pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and intentional wounding in the murder of Brooks, who was 37, the Register reported.

Officials said Lewis had run away from home to escape abuse, and she was sleeping in a hallway when a 28-year-old man admitted her, according to the Associated Press. He then forcibly trafficked her, forced her to have sex with other men and sometimes threatened her with a knife, the AP reported. Among those men was Brooks, officials said, according to the AP. Officials said Brooks had raped her several times before and that she stabbed him in a fit of rage after grabbing a knife from the nightstand. She stabbed him more than 30 times, according to the AP.

Her GoFundMe has already exceeded the refund amount she owes.

Here’s what you need to know:

The judge overseeing Lewis’ case, Polk County district judge David M. Porter, described her conviction as “a second chance,” the Des Moines Register reported. He also ordered her to serve 1,200 in community service, which will cover $4,000 in fines, the paper reported. Porter convicted Lewis Tuesday, September 13, 2022.

The Associated Press reported that Lewis was initially charged with first-degree murder for the June 2020 murder. Both involuntary manslaughter and intentional injury carry a possible prison sentence of up to 10 years, so Lewis could still be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison if she is violating her probation, the AP reported. She is now 17.

Restitution is required under Iowa state law, and Porter said “this court has no choice” but to order Lewis to pay Brooks’ estate.

The GoFundMe in support of Lewis was started by her freshman math teacher, Leland Schipper. It raised over $180,000 on Wednesday, September 14 at noon Eastern Time.

Schipper told the Des Moines Register that he was overwhelmed by the support for Lewis, and hopes the story will raise awareness of the law requiring the judge to order the teen to return his wages.

“Pieper’s case is so obvious to people why this law is flawed, but it’s not unique in the fact that this law is being applied problematically,” Schipper told the Register. “It’s beautiful and it’s great.”

Schipper wrote on the GoFundMe page that his former student’s voice was powerful.

“Today my former student, Pieper Lewis, bravely grabbed the microphone at her sentencing hearing and told the courtroom that her voice mattered,” he wrote. “I was incredibly proud of her. She was powerful and she brought me to tears.”

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