News Briefs for week of Nov 2 - 8, 2022
Pieper Lewis gives her allocution during a sentencing hearing, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Supreme Court denies Guyger’s appeal in Botham Jean murder

The Supreme Court has denied former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger’s appeal over her murder conviction in the shooting death of Botham Jean in 2018. Guyger’s attorneys had argued in a petition for writ of certiorari that Guyger’s “rights to due process were violated” over a lower court’s interpretation of Guyger’s self-defense and mistake-of-fact claims in the shooting. Guyger, 34, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the shooting death of Jean at his apartment in September 2018.

Guyger said she entered Jean’s apartment, thinking it was her own, before shooting him. Guyger lived on the floor below Jean at the South Side Flats apartments. In March, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused to hear Guyger’s petition to review a lower court’s decision to uphold her conviction and sentence. While the nine-member court has the finale appellate jurisdiction in Texas criminal cases, Guyger appealed to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to have a lower court review her case again.

$500,000 bond set for stepfather of abused twins

The stepfather of twin teens who endured horrific abuse has been returned to Houston from Louisiana. Jova Terrell, 27, is charged with continuous assault of a family member. He made his first court appearance recently where the judge set his bond at $500,000. The twins’ mother, 40-year-old Zaikiya Duncan, remains jailed on bonds that total $4.5 million. During her hearing last week, it came out Duncan may have deleted video evidence regarding the case. Officials also learned she might be pregnant. The couple was arrested in October in Baton Rouge. Detectives said Duncan and her husband held their twins captive, tortured them and forced them to live in horrible conditions. The twins escaped, alerting authorities and setting off a search for Duncan and Terrell and ultimately leading police to Louisiana.

Teen sex trafficking victim could face 20 years after escape

An 18-year-old sex trafficking victim who killed a man that she says raped her has escaped from a women’s center where she was serving her probation sentence. Pieper Lewis escaped the Fresh Start Women’s Center in Des Moines shortly after 6:15 a.m. on Nov. 4. The probation violation report said Lewis cut her GPS monitor off at some point after she was seen walking out of the facility. A warrant has been issued for her arrest. The report has also asked that her deferred judgment be revoked and her original sentence imposed, which means Lewis could face up to 20 years in prison. Lewis was initially charged with first-degree murder after she stabbed and killed her 37-year-old accused rapist, Zachary Brooks. Lewis was 15 years old at the time of the June 2020 killing. Lewis was sentenced to five years of closely supervised probation and ordered to pay $150,000 restitution to Brooks’ family. If Lewis would have completed her five years of closely supervised probation her entire prison sentence would have been expunged. Now Lewis must start from the beginning and is likely to see the jail time she was originally sentenced to before her escape.

Breast Cancer vaccine could be coming soon

Researchers from the University of Washington have developed a groundbreaking experimental vaccine that could possibly be used to treat breast cancer disease in the near future. Researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle conducted a clinical trial with the newly developed vaccine. The study found that the medicine “safely gendered a strong immune response to a key tumor protein,” present in breast cancer cells, the report noted, according toMedical Press. According to the study, researchers believe that the vaccine showed a positive response because of how the substance was designed. The vaccine used in the experiment contained the DNA instructions responsible for the tumor protein. Once injected, the DNA begins to rapidly copy the protein encoded in the DNA’s instructions. The proteins then travel to the immune system “a process more likely to generate a strong, cytotoxic immune response,” the outlet noted.