A teenager who killed her alleged rapist has been ordered to pay $150,000 to the victim’s family by a court in US, according to media reports.
Pieper Lewis, 17, was also sentenced to five years’ probation by Polk County District judge David M Porter on Tuesday (13). Lewis murdered Zachary Brooks, 37, in 2020 in Des Moines, when she was just 15.
In 2021, she pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and wilful injury. Reports said that Brooks sexually abused her while she was trapped in a sex-trafficking ring.
The court ordered to place her in a residential facility to serve 1,200 hours of community service and asked her to wear a tracking device.
During the hearing, Lewis called herself as a ‘survivor’. “I wish (the stabbing) never happened. But to say there’s only one victim in the story is absurd,” Lewis said . “My spirit has been burned, but still glows through the flames. Hear me roar, see me glow, and watch me grow”
“I took a person’s life. My intentions that day were not to just to go out and take somebody’s life. In my mind I felt that I wasn’t safe and I felt that I was in danger, which resulted in the acts. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that a crime was committed,” she was quoted as saying by media outlets.
The teenager admitted that she ran away from home three times between January and March 2020. Later, she a 28-year-old man took her in and trafficked her.
According to reports, the man created an online dating profile for her and forced her to have sex with men for money. One of the ‘customers’ was Brooks. She told the court that he had raped her multiple times in the weeks before his death.
The ringleader forced her at knifepoint to go with Brooks to his apartment for sex. After he raped her yet again, she grabbed a knife from a bedside table and stabbed Brooks more than 30 times, Lewis told officers two years ago.
Investigators and prosecutors have confirmed that Lewis was sexually assaulted and trafficked. However, the prosecution argued that there was no immediate threat as Brooks was asleep at the time of murder.
The Judge said: “The next five years of your life will be full of rules you disagree with, I’m sure of it. This is the second chance that you’ve asked for. You don’t get a third.”
He warned Lewis that she could end up in prison if she doesn’t follow the rules during probation. Reports said that the survivor’s record could be expunged when she completes her sentence.