After Pieper Lewis killed her alleged rapist and sex trafficker in self-defense when she was 15, an Iowa judge sentenced her to probation and ordered her to pay $150,000 in restitution to his family. On Sunday, CNN reported that Lewis has escaped from the correctional facility where she is being held, and her “whereabouts are unknown.”
Lewis “walked away from the Fresh Start Women’s Center on Friday at 6:19 a.m. after cutting off her electronic monitoring tracking device,” Jerry Evans, executive director of Iowa’s Fifth Judicial District Department of Corrections, told CNN.
The teen had pleaded guilty in June 2021 to voluntary manslaughter. As Jezebel’s Audra Heinrichs wrote in September:
David M. Porter, a Polk County District Judge, called the ruling “a second chance” for the formerly homeless teenager who, at just 15 years old, alleged she was trafficked and raped multiple times by 37-year-old Zachary Brooks and had no choice but to fatally stab the man to protect herself. The sentence also includes five years of probation and GPS tracking while she lives at the Fresh Start Women’s Center, in addition to 600 hours of community service. If Lewis violates her probation terms, she could face up to 20 years in prison.
Lewis claimed that Brooks had plied her with alcohol and marijuana—at one point forcing her to drink vodka shots until she passed out—and raped her at least five times while she was unconscious. Following one incident in which she woke up to find him on top of her, she said, she found him passed out naked and stabbed him 30 times with his own knife. She was homeless at the time.
“I suddenly realized that Mr. Brooks had raped me yet again and was overcome with rage. Without thinking, I immediately grabbed the knife from his nightstand and began stabbing him,” Lewis stated in the plea agreement. “I further acknowledge that the multiple stab wounds that I inflicted upon Mr. Brooks thereafter ultimately resulted in his death.”
After the judge ordered her to pay $150,000 to Brooks’ family, a GoFundMe raised half a million dollars for Lewis.
Since her escape, officials have issued a warrant for her arrest and recommended that her probation be revoked.