Iowa teen who killed her rapist is back in custody

Midwest

FILE – Pieper Lewis gives her allocution during a sentencing hearing, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa. Iowa authorities say Lewis, an 18-year-old sex trafficking victim who pleaded guilty to killing a man she said raped her escaped from a women’s center where she was serving her probation sentence. Lewis was seen walking out of the building at the Fresh Start Women’s Center in Des Moines shortly after 6:15 a.m. Friday, Nov. 4, 2022. (Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Des Moines Register via AP, File)

DES MOINES, Iowa (NewsNation) —  An 18-year-old sex-trafficking victim who killed her rapist was back in police custody on Wednesday after she walked away from a women’s shelter in Des Moines where she was serving probation.

Pieper Lewis was booked into the Polk County Jail on Tuesday, said Polk County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Ryan Evans. Iowa Department of Corrections officers located her in Des Moines and took her into custody.

“We would like to thank law enforcement and members of Iowa’s 5th Judicial District for their efforts to safely bring Ms. Lewis back into custody,” corrections spokesman Nick Crawford said.

An arrest warrant was issued after Lewis was seen walking out of the Fresh Start Women’s Center in Des Moines shortly after 6:15 a.m. Friday, according to a report filed with the court by a probation officer and the shelter’s residential supervisor.

Court documents obtained by NewsNation affiliate WHO said Lewis cut off her ankle monitor Friday morning and walked away from the shelter.

Prosecutors are requesting a hearing to have Lewis’ probation revoked. If it is revoked, she could serve the full 20-year sentence. She will be taken before Judge David Porter for the hearing, but a date has not yet been set.

Porter sentenced Lewis in September to probation for five years to be served at the women’s shelter. He also gave her a deferred judgement, which meant her conviction would be expunged from her record if she completed the requirements of her probation. Porter warned Lewis at her sentencing hearing that by affording her an opportunity to avoid prison he was giving her a second chance. “You don’t get a third,” he said.

Lewis had originally faced a 20-year prison sentence after pleading guilty last year to involuntary manslaughter and willful injury in the June 2020 killing of 37-year-old Zachary Brooks. Lewis was 15 when she stabbed Brooks more than 30 times in a Des Moines apartment. She had originally been charged with first-degree murder but prosecutors agreed to a plea deal that dropped that charge in exchange for her plea.

Lewis has said that she was trafficked against her will to Brooks for sex multiple times and stabbed him in a fit of rage after he forced her to have sex with him again. Police and prosecutors did not dispute that Lewis was sexually assaulted and trafficked. The man she accused of forcing her to have sex with men, including Brooks, has never been charged.

Court documents indicate Lewis was allowed to leave the women’s shelter to work at a local pizza restaurant and show she had several incidents of violating the shelter rules in the past month.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WHO contributed to this report.

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