Police in Baton Rouge this week arrested four men in connection with the alleged rape of a 19-year-old Louisiana State University (LSU) student who was killed when a car struck her in a roadway earlier this month.
According to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office (EBRSO), Madison Brooks was raped before she was dropped off at a subdivision and hit and killed by a car in the early morning hours of January 16.
The four “individuals turned themselves in” to EBRSO Monday and three were booked into the parish prison on warrants, an EBRSO spokesperson told CNN. “A 17-year-old was also booked into Juvenile Detention,” said the spokesperson.
The 17-year-old juvenile, who is not named, and 18-year-old Kaivon Deondre Washington are accused of third-degree rape. Casen John Carver, 18, and Everett Lee, 28, who is Washington’s uncle, are charged with being principals to the alleged crime, according to the affidavits.
CNN has reached out to attorneys representing the men for comment.
In a statement provided to The Advocate newspaper, Carver’s defense attorney, Joe Long, said in part, “When all the evidence is known, everyone will see this was not a crime.”
“Absolutely not a rape. Listen, this is a tragedy, definitely not a crime,” Ron Haley, attorney for Washington and Lee, said to CNN affiliate WAFB.
According to the affidavits, medical and toxicology reports issued by the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office found that Brooks had injuries consistent with sexual assault and that her blood alcohol content (BAC) was .319g%, nearly four times the legal limit to drive in Louisiana.
“According to the University of Notre Dame Research, the effects of a BAC between .250g% and .399g% are listed as alcohol poisoning and loss of consciousness,” the affidavits said. She also tested positive for Tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, said the affidavits.
Upon review of the medical records, investigators looked at videos from businesses in the surrounding area. Videos show Brooks arriving at a bar at around 10 p.m. and leaving with the four men in a vehicle at about 2 a.m., according to the affidavits.
The affidavits said video inside the bar also shows the 17-year-old suspect and Brooks dancing and hugging during the night. At about 1 a.m., Brooks is seen stumbling and needing help to get back on her feet, said the affidavits.
According to the affidavits, Carver told investigators he and his friends had consumed alcohol at the bar and said they had never met Brooks prior to that night. Carver told police that Brooks was “very unstable on her feet, was not able to keep her balance, and was unable to speak clearly without slurring her words,” when they left the bar, said the affidavits.
The affidavits state that Carver told investigators that Washington and his 17-year-old friend “had sex with the victim in the rear of the vehicle” — at separate times while he and Lee were in the front seat.
Lee also told investigators he was seated in the passenger seat and in the vehicle with Brooks and the other three men, but he did not provide further statements, according to the affidavits. Washington denied having sex with the victim and seeing his friend and the victim have sex. He asked for an attorney and ended the interview when police asked him to provide a swab of DNA, the affidavits said.
There were about 50 minutes between the suspects driving away from the bar and the fatal crash. Brooks was transported and died in the hospital, according to the EBRSO.
The driver of the vehicle that struck Brooks has not been charged, according to the sheriff’s office. “The driver immediately notified emergency personnel after striking the person in the roadway, waited on scene and had no impairment,” sheriff spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks told CNN.
On Tuesday, a judge set bond for the three adult suspects, according to jail records. Carver, whose bond was set at $50,000, and Lee, who had a $75,000 bond, were released after bonding out, jail records show. Washington remains in jail on a $150,000 bond.
“Madison was a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a niece, a classmate, and a friend to many of you,” LSU President William F. Tate IV said in a statement. “By all accounts, she was an amazing young woman with limitless potential. She should not have been taken from us in this way. What happened to her was evil, and our legal system will parcel out justice.”
LSU will make an action plan to address underage drinking at establishments near campus, Tate said in the statement.
“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,” Tate added.
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