17-year-old fined $150,000 for killing rapist
The law in the US state of Iowa makes no exception: a minor who killed several of her rapists when she was 15 is now sentenced to a suspended sentence of five years and to pay a large sum of money. The case caused a stir.
IA court in the US state of Iowa has sentenced a 17-year-old girl to a five-year suspended sentence for killing her rapist with 30 knives. Pepper Lewis, who was originally charged with murder, has also been ordered to pay $150,000 to the family of the late 37-year-old.
The defendant had pleaded guilty to murder and grievous assault, both of which carry sentences of up to ten years in prison. Judge David M. Porter suspended the sentence. Although the fine is non-negotiable, Porter justified his decision. Such payment to the family of the deceased is mandatory under state law.
Lewis stabbed the man more than 30 times at the age of 15 in a Des Moines apartment in June 2020. Authorities say Lewis first ran away from his home after he was allegedly abused by his adoptive mother. She initially slept in the hallway of an apartment block until a 28-year-old took her inside and offered men to have sex with her for money.
One of these customers later fell victim. Lewis said that he repeatedly raped her in the weeks following her death. He was forcibly asked to go into the apartment with her with a knife. When the man raped her again, he pulled out a knife from the bedside table and stabbed her in anger.
Police and prosecutors denied neither rape nor trafficking. However, prosecutors argued that the stabbings appeared to have taken place before being stabbed and so there was no immediate threat to Lewis. In the United States, the case of Lewis, who has repeatedly agreed to mention his name, has been reported several times.
The verdict is not without controversy. Dozens of US states have so-called “safe harbor” laws that provide at least some immunity to victims of human trafficking.