DES MOINES, IOWA — A GoFundMe account created to support Pieper Lewis by one of her former teacher’s has raised more than $200,000 in fewer than 24 hours for the teen who pled guilty to killing her rapist. Lewis was 15-years-old when she stabbed and killed 37-year-old Zachary Brooks after she says he repeatedly raped her.
She pled guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter and Willful Injury. She faced up to 20 years in prison, but a judge handed her a deferred sentence on Tuesday that allows her to serve five years of probation, perform community service and get counseling. If she meets the terms of that probation, she won’t serve another day behind bars.
However, her conviction carries with it an automatic requirement by law that she pay $150,000 in restitution to her victim’s family. Her attorney argued forcefully that it should be considered cruel and unusual punishment to force her to pay her attacker’s family, but the judge said his hands are tied by the law. Lewis may not have to struggle to pay that restitution, after all.
Leland Schipper, a former teacher of Lewis’, launched a GoFundMe account after her sentencing to seek help paying the fee. In fewer than 24 hours, the account exceeded that $150,000 goal. Schipper responded by raising the fundraising goal to $200,000 on Wednesday morning. The account crossed that goal by 12:15 pm on Wednesday and is still growing.
More than 4,400 individual donations have been made to the account.