Iowa teen who murdered rapist escapes from probation center


DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa authorities say an 18-year-old sex trafficking victim, who pleaded guilty to murdering a man she allegedly raped, escaped from a women’s center where she was serving her probation.

Pieper Lewis was seen walking out of the Fresh Start Women’s Center building in Des Moines shortly after 6:15 a.m. Friday, and her GPS monitor was cut off at some point that day, according to a probation violation report.

An arrest warrant was issued for Lewis’ arrest and the probation report requested that her suspended sentence be revoked and her original sentence be imposed, KCCI reported. She could face up to 20 years in prison.

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Prosecutors had called the probation sentence she was handed in September merciful to a teen who was horribly abused, though some questioned the $150,000 return she had to pay. A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $560,000 to cover the refund and pay for her other needs.

Polk County Judge David Porter told Lewis her probation was “the second chance you asked for. You don’t get a third,” the Des Moines Register reported.

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If Lewis had successfully completed a five-year probationary period under strict supervision, her jail term would have been dropped.

Lewis pleaded guilty last year to involuntary manslaughter and willful injury in the June 2020 murder of 37-year-old Zachary Brooks, a married father of two. Lewis was 15 when she stabbed Brooks more than 30 times in a Des Moines apartment.

Lewis has said that she was smuggled into Brooks for sex against her will several times and sent him into a fit of rage. Police and prosecutors did not dispute that Lewis was sexually assaulted and trafficked.

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The The Bharat Express News does not normally name victims of sexual assault, but Lewis agreed that her name was previously used in stories about her case.