When Madison Brooks was hit by a car and killed on January 15, not much was known about the circumstances of her death.
Friends and family of the 19-year-old student at Louisiana State University remembered her as a bright and happy young woman who left a lasting impression on everyone she met. Her sorority sisters at Alpha Phi said that Madi, as her friends and family called her, had shown how generous she was by donating her heart and kidneys to save the lives of others.
But as her family and friends tried to come to terms with her sudden death, the case took an unexpected turn on January 23 when the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office said that the tragedy was not as random as first thought.
The Department said that four men either took part in or saw an alleged sexual assault on Brooks, who was very sick and unable to give consent, before they dropped her off on a dark side of the road, where she was later killed.
Kaivon Deondre Washington, who is 18, and a 17-year-old boy who was not named because he is a minor, have both been charged with third-degree rape for allegedly attacking Brooks. Everette Lee, Mr. Washington’s 28-year-old uncle, and Casen Carver, his 18-year-old cousin, are being charged with conspiracy to rape for not stopping the rape.
The day after they were arrested, the defendants’ lawyer said that a video of how they talked to Brooks showed that she was “intoxicated,” but not so much that she couldn’t give consent when she had sex with the men.
But the video backfired because a judge said that, if anything, the tape shows that they don’t care about Brooks’ life and that they violated her rights.
What we know about the case is as follows:
How Did LSU Madison Brooks Died?
On January 14, Brooks and the four suspects met at a bar in Baton Rouge called Reggie’s. According to an arrest warrant that Ksla got, footage from the bar shows that Brooks fell down several times, stumbled, and tried hard to stand in front of at least one of the suspects before they all left the bar together.
In a police interview, Mr. Carver said that Brooks asked them to drop her off before the group left the bar.
Mr. Carver told the police that Mr. Washington and the unnamed minor defendant asked Brooks to have sexual relations with them.
Mr. Carver said Brooks agreed to have sexual relations, but he also said she was “very unsteady on her feet, couldn’t keep her balance, and couldn’t speak clearly without slurring her words.”
When investigators asked Mr. Carver if he thought Brooks was too drunk to consent, he reportedly said, “I guess.”
An arrest affidavit says that Mr. Washington and the minor then raped Brooks in the car while Mr. Lee, who was the only adult in the group, got out of the car. Mr. Carver later told the police that he “felt uncomfortable and hated it.”
The men were accused of putting Madison Brooks in their car while she was drunk. The 17-year-old suspect and Kaivon Washington are said to have attacked her after this. At 3 a.m., she got out of the car on Burbank Drive, where a rideshare driver struck and killed her.
At the time of her death, her blood alcohol level was four times the legal limit, and an autopsy showed injuries that were consistent with a sexual assault.
Video “Proof” Doesn’t Work
At a bond hearing on Tuesday, 19th Judicial District Judge Brad Myers said that he had seen the video that one of the four suspects who were in the car with Brooks took.
Wafb reported that the judge said the video shows the suspects laughing “callously” at the drunken 19-year-old woman as she slurred her words. He also looked at video from Reggie’s Bar that showed Brooks falling over and struggling to stand in front of at least one of the suspects before they all left the bar together.
Based on the video, the footage from Reggie’s Bar, and what Mr. Carver told investigators, the judge decided that it was clear that a crime had happened that night.
“The proof is clear to me,” he said.
Since then, the prosecutors in the case have said that the charges against the alleged attackers will get worse. At the first hearing, prosecutor Stuart Theriot said that the state would try to charge the man with first-degree rape and that a grand jury would be called to look into the case.
On January 25, Mr. Lee and Mr. Carter, who were charged with first-degree rape, were let out of jail after putting up $75,000 and $50,000, respectively, as bonds. Local news station WBRZ said that Mr. Washington and the underage suspect, who are both accused of rape in the third degree, are still in jail.
Under the bond terms, the suspects weren’t allowed to talk about the case on social media or get in touch with Brooks’ family. They also had to agree to random drug tests, be put on house arrest, and wear an ankle monitor. The bond hearing for the 17-year-old has been moved to February.
Bar Where Ordeal Started To Get Punished
After the charges against the four suspects were made public, LSU President William F. Tate said in a statement that the school would also look into why Reggie’s Bar may have served alcohol to minors on the night Brooks died.
Madison was your daughter, your grandchild, your sister, your niece, your classmate, and your friend. “From what I’ve heard, she was a wonderful young woman with a lot of potential,” Mr. Tate said.
“She shouldn’t have been taken from us in this way.” “What happened to her was wrong, and justice will be served by our legal system.”
He went on to say, “In the next few days, we’ll call a meeting with these business owners to talk about how their jobs directly affect the safety of our students.” We will openly work against any business that doesn’t help us make our schools safer for our students. “It’s time to stop.”
On January 24, the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control said that Reggie’s Bar was going to be shut down immediately.
“The Seriousness of the Allegations and the Possible Threat to Public Safety” were cited by the agency.
“This action stops serving or selling alcoholic drinks at these places right away,” it said in a statement.
The state agency said that there will be an emergency hearing in February to decide what penalties, if any, should be given “after the evidence is presented.”
In a statement to Nola.com, Kris Perret, an attorney for Reggie’s Bar, said that the owner “has fully cooperated with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Police, and the East Baton Rouge ABC Office since their first requests for help in their ongoing investigations and will continue to do so.”
This is not the first time that the bar, which is in an area called “Tigerland,” has been questioned.
In 2016, it was said that LSU tight end Dillon Gordon was stabbed at a bar. The Advocate says that before that, a woman was raped in the parking lot, and a man pointed a loaded gun at customers.
She Was Pure Joy And Light
Brooks’s friends and family have been sending her tributes since her sudden and tragic death.
In a post on the group’s Facebook page, LSU’s Alpha Phi Chapter paid tribute to one of its sorority sisters.
“Madison was a sophomore and left an impression on all of us that will last,” the statement said.
“She was also a hero, and she was able to save other people by giving them her heart and kidneys.” We send her family and friends our deepest condolences during this very hard time. And we ask for time and space with respect so that we can help each other get better. Aoe”
Brooks’ grandfather, Kert Leblanc, also wrote a touching post on his Facebook page.
“She was full of happiness and light.” We were so happy because of her. We will really miss her. “Please say prayers for our family as we go through this hard time,” Mr. Leblanc wrote.
Tiffani Carlini Roberston, the mother of an LSU student, wrote in a touching post that Brooks’ memory is “in the hearts of every woman at LSU and their mothers.” Ms. Roberston said that Brooks’s story had struck a chord with many people in the area and made them realise that there was a need for a bigger conversation.
“We may never get rid of sexual assault in the world, but Madi’s beautiful life is making a generation that has kept their pain to themselves until now aware of it,” she told The Independent. “We’ve never met this family, but our hearts are breaking for them.”
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