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A young student at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge died earlier this month after deputies say two males raped her and they and their friends left her alone in a suburban neighborhood where a car struck and killed her later that night.
According to reports, Madison Brooks, a 19-year-old LSU sophomore, entered a bar called Reggie's at approximately 10 p.m. on January 15. She remained at the establishment for hours, drinking and otherwise socializing. At some point during the evening, she met four males: 18-year-old Casen Carver, 28-year-old Everette Lee, Lee's 18-year-old nephew Kaivon Washington, and a 17-year-old juvenile whose name has not been released. Between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. the following morning, Brooks left Reggie's along with the 17-year-old and his companions.
By all accounts, Brooks was severely intoxicated. Washington later told police that she "did not have her balance" and "stumbled." Carver made a similar statement, claiming that she "was very unstable on her feet, was not able to keep her balance, and was unable to speak clearly without slurring her words." Toxicology reports later determined that she had a blood alcohol level of .319, nearly four times the legal limit to drive.
Brooks had allegedly asked the guys for a ride home, and she and the 17-year-old were hugging and walking along together toward the car. Once there, she, the 17-year-old, and Washington entered the backseat, while Carver sat behind the wheel with Lee sitting next to him in the passenger seat. Carver claimed that Brooks was unable to give him her address when asked.
After they began driving, Carver claimed he heard his 17-year-old friend ask Brooks "five times" whether she wanted to have sex, according to the arrest warrant. He also said he heard Brooks verbally consent, and the two allegedly proceeded to engage in sexual acts. Soon afterwards, Washington allegedly petitioned Brooks for sex "numerous times," and she consented. Washington and Brooks then supposedly had sex as well.
Carver stated that he "hated" the sexual activity that went on in the back of his vehicle and told the other suspects at the time, "We got to stop this, let’s go." When deputies asked Carver whether he thought Brooks was too intoxicated to consent, he replied, "I guess."
The group then supposedly dropped Brooks off in a neighborhood and left her because she told them she would get an Uber to take her home. At about 3 a.m. that morning, Brooks was standing in a dark area of Burbank Drive when a ride-share driver struck her. She was immediately taken to the hospital where she later died from her injuries. An autopsy report later indicated that Brooks sustained injuries consistent with anal sexual assault.
Her Alpha Phi sisters posted a tribute to Brooks on Instagram, stating that she had "made a lasting impact" on the entire sorority. They also called her a "hero" since her heart and kidneys have since been donated to others in need.
The four suspects have all been arrested in connection to the case. Washington and the 17-year-old juvenile have been charged with third-degree rape, a form of rape whereby a victim is too intoxicated to consent to sex. Carver and Lee have been charged with principle to commit third-degree rape.
Attorney Ron Haley, who is representing two of the suspects, denies that what happened to Brooks was a crime. "[T]his is a tragedy," he said, "definitely not a crime." Haley added that he has video evidence taken from inside the vehicle that indicates Brooks was coherent during the incident.
"Can you tell that she was intoxicated [in the video]? Yes," Haley stated. "To the point under the law that you say you’re in a drunken stupor? To the point that you cannot lawfully give consent or answer questions? Absolutely that was not the case."
This was "[a]bsolutely not a rape," he later asserted.
A statement from LSU President William F. Tate suggested otherwise. "What happened to [Brooks] was evil," the statement said, "and our legal system will parcel out justice." The statement also called Brooks "an amazing young woman with limitless potential" who was loved by many. Tate vowed to work with local leaders to ensure that area bars no longer serve underage drinkers, as happened in this case.
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