LSU sophomore had been raped by two men before car hit and killed her, officials say

Madison Brooks, 19, was raped twice before she was fatally struck by a car near LSU, East Baton Rouge deputies said. (Screengrab from Madi Brooks' Facebook)

A week after a Louisiana State University sophomore was fatally struck by a car, four people have been charged in her rape, officials say.

Madison Brooks was hit at about 3 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, according to the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office. Originally, deputies said Brooks was standing in the road about 4 miles away from the university’s campus for an unknown reason. The driver police said hit Brooks was not suspected to be impaired.

Now, deputies have arrested and charged four people — three men and a juvenile male — investigators say were involved in raping Brooks and leaving her in a neighborhood near where she was hit, according to Jan. 22 booking documents.

Investigators said they charged Kaivon Washington, 18, and an unnamed 17-year-old boy with one count of third-degree rape. Casen Carver, 18, and Everett Lee, 28, were charged with principle to rape, which means investigators believe they witnessed but did not take part in the rape, police said.

In Louisiana, third-degree rape is considered sexual intercourse “deemed to be without the lawful consent” because the victim is “incapable of resisting or of understanding the nature of the act by reason of a stupor or abnormal condition of mind produced by an intoxicating agent or any cause and the offender knew or should have known of the victim’s incapacity,” according to the state legislature.

Carver told deputies the four men had been drinking at a local bar, Reggie’s, the night of Jan. 15, and they met Brooks there, according to an affidavit. Video footage shows the group entering the bar at 10:18 p.m., about 10 minutes after Brooks was seen arriving, according to the affidavit.

Just before 2 a.m., footage shows Brooks leaving with the group. According to the affidavit, Carver told investigators Brooks asked him for a ride home, and he agreed because he did not want to leave her alone as the bar was closing.

Carver described Brooks as “drunk,” unable to keep her balance, unstable on her feet and slurring her words, the affidavit said.

‘We got to stop this’

After reaching Carver’s car, the group drove to a side street where the 17-year-old and Washington asked Brooks if she would have sex with them, Carver told investigators, according to the affidavit. Investigators said Carver and Lee then remained in the front seats of the car while the 17-year-old and Washington had sex with Brooks in the back seat.

When police asked Carver if he thought Brooks was too drunk to consent to sex, he told them “I guess,” according to the affidavit.

Eventually, Carver told investigators he told the group “we got to stop this, let’s go,” at which point Washington stopped, and he and Brooks put their clothes back on, according to the affidavit. Carver said he then tried to take Brooks home, and eventually dropped her off in a subdivision, according to investigators.

About 50 minutes after she was seen leaving the bar, Brooks was struck by an oncoming car, according to deputies.

A toxicology test showed that at the time of her death, Brooks’ blood alcohol content was .319%, deputies said. That’s almost four times higher than the legal alcohol content to drive and high enough to trigger alcohol poisoning or loss of consciousness.

Attorney Ron Haley, who is representing two of the suspects, said the incident was “absolutely not a rape,” according to WAFB.

“Listen this is a tragedy, definitely not a crime,” Haley said.

Joe Long, who is defending Carver, told NOLA.com that “when all the evidence is known, everyone will see this was not a crime.” Long told McClatchy News he had no comment.

Bar banned from serving alcohol

The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control said Tuesday, Jan. 24 that it will temporarily ban Reggie’s from serving and selling alcohol.

Authorities are investigating “recent incidents” at Reggie’s, ATC commissioner Ernest P. Legier Jr. said in a statement to McClatchy News. The suspension is a result of “the seriousness of the allegations and the potential threat to public safety,” Legier said.

A hearing will be held next month to determine penalties for the bar, Legier said.

A phone call placed to Reggie’s by McClatchy News did not go through.

‘Pure joy and light’

Brooks is remembered as “one of the most amazing people.

“She showed me how big someone’s heart can really be. She taught us all how to never take any second for granted,” a friend wrote in a Facebook post. “Madi would walk into a room and everyone would smile.”

“She was pure joy and light. She made us so very proud,” Brooks’ grandfather, Kert Leblanc, posted.

Madi was a bright light, extinguished far too early in a horrible accident last weekend,” another person shared. “I will always remember her as a stunning young woman who had a smile for everyone. She was funny and incredibly kind.”

The university is calling for change to limit underage drinking after Brooks’ death, according to a statement from LSU President William F. Tate IV.

“Our collective grief and outrage cannot be put into mere words. So what can we do? It is time for action,” Tate wrote in his statement. “One place to target our attention is the very place where this encounter began.”

The university plans to meet with local establishments in coming days, according to Tate.

“Our action plan starts with a deep and relentless focus on any establishment that profits off our students by providing alcohol to underage individuals,” Tate said. “We will work openly against any business that doesn’t join us in efforts toward creating a safer environment for our students. Enough is enough.”

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