Crime

US teen who stabbed and killed alleged rapist sentenced and fined

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A US teenager who stabbed and killed her alleged rapist to death when she was aged just 15 has been sentenced and fined by an Iowa court.

Pieper Lewis, now 17, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $150,000 to Zachary Brooks’ family over his murder in 2020 in Des Moines, the BBC reported Wednesday.

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In 2020, Lewis was sleeping in a hallway after fleeing an abusive home when a man took her in and trafficked her to others for sex.

She told the court one of them was Brooks, 37, and that he had raped her on multiple occasion.

The teenager stabbed him more than 30 times in June 2020 in a flat in Des Moines, the capital of the Iowa state in the Midwestern region.

Under the terms of her probation, the judge ordered her to be placed in a residential facility, where she must wear a tracking device.

Last year, she pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and willful injury. Both charges are punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

Lewis was sentenced on Tuesday by Polk County District judge David M Porter, who told the teenager: “"The next five years of your life will be full of rules you disagree with, I'm sure of it,” Porter was quoted by the BBC as saying.

“This is the second chance that you've asked for. You don't get a third.”

Lewis read on Tuesday from a statement she had prepared, saying: “My spirit has been burned, but still glows through the flames. Hear me roar, see me glow, and watch me grow,” the Associated Press reported.

“I am a survivor,” she added.

While Lewis accepted she had committed a crime, she defended her actions.

“I took a person's life,” she said. “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.”

Police and prosecutors have not disputed that Lewis was sexually assaulted and trafficked. But the prosecution had argued that Brooks was asleep at the time, and therefore not an immediate threat.

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