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Driver of vehicle where Madison Brooks was allegedly raped indicted by grand jury

1 year 2 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, May 03 2023 May 3, 2023 May 03, 2023 4:38 PM May 03, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - An East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury indicted a Denham Springs teenager on two rape charges Wednesday, saying he was a central figure in an assault that left LSU student Madison Brooks dead last winter.

Authorities had previously said that Casen Carver, 18, drove Brooks and three men away from an LSU-area bar last winter. Brooks died in a hospital after being struck by a vehicle along Burbank Drive in January. Two people in Carver's car have been accused of actually sexually assaulting the woman.

Prosecutors said Carver did not have sex with Brooks, and police initially accused him of third-degree rape. The Louisiana law cited by grand jurors Wednesday said Carver's action facilitated the crime. He was charged with both first-degree rape and third-degree rape.

Carver's lawyer, Joe Long, said the charges were anticipated but unwarranted. 

"We expected this indictment based on what happened to Mr. Carter despite the fact that my client didn't have sex with Madison Brooks. He declined sex when offered and was called gay when he wouldn't have sex with her. The DA has seen it fit to pursue charges that could put him in prison for the rest of his life. Facts don't matter when the mob wants their pound of flesh," Long said. 

First-degree rape occurs when two or more offenders take part, the law says. In its definition of "participation," the law notes both taking part in the actual rape or to "physically assist in the commission of such act."

Third-degree rape includes assaults where the victim is intoxicated and that that perpetrator should have known they were incapacitated. Brooks' blood alcohol content was .319 percent, or nearly four times the level at which a driver is considered drunk.

Investigators say three teenagers and a 28-year-old traveling together met Brooks, 20, at Reggie's Bar in Tigerland, near the LSU campus, on the night of Jan. 15. State alcohol control officials have since shuttered the bar and a nearby business has announced plans to take it over.

Previously, WBRZ obtained video of Brooks leaving the bar with the men, who were identified as Carver, 18-year-old Kaivon Washington, 28-year-old Everett Lee and 17-year-old Desmond Carter, whose case was initially in juvenile court.

Deputies say Carver drove the group to a parking spot where Washington and Carter both had sex with Brooks. Arrest records say Carver and Lee were sitting in the front seats.

Shortly before his arrest, Washington spoke with Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto. He told WBRZ the sex was consensual.

Washington said when Brooks asked to go home, they brought her back to where she told them she wanted to be dropped off, near the Pelican Lakes subdivision off of Burbank Drive.

According to Washington, Brooks gave the men multiple addresses before she got out of the car in a dark stretch of the road between Lee Drive and Staring Lane. She was struck a short time later after she wandered into the middle of Burbank and died later at a hospital. The driver who hit her was not arrested and is not suspected of being impaired.

In the month after Washington's arrest he was arrested two more times on separate rape cases. 

Washington was accused of raping a 12-year-old girl when he was 15. Arrest documents said, "the victim clarified that he put his stuff in my vagina, and that went on for approx. 30 min. before Washington got another boy and left." Days after Washington was arrested, a victim came forward and told BRPD that she was raped in August 2022. The victim said she went home from Reggie's bar with 18-year-old Karson Jones after a night of drinking. The victim was having sex with Jones when Washington came in the room and refused to leave. Washington allegedly touched the victim while she repeatedly asked Jones to stop having sex with her. 

In the weeks after Brooks' death, lawyers for the men released a video in which the woman said she would call a ride-sharing service and purportedly tells the driver he was "gay."

"Speaking, engaging in conversations ... very vulgar language to the driver of the vehicle," attorney Ron Haley said while discussing the video. "Implying that he's not straight based on him not wanting to engage in certain activities with her. It doesn't put anyone in the best light, but again, not being put in the best light isn't the same thing as rape."

A lawyer for Brooks' family said it was clear that a crime occurred.

"Under Louisiana law, this is rape," Kerry Miller said in response to Haley's remarks. "We were deeply offended by blaming the victim, and statements regarding if she hadn't been hit she wouldn't be complaining of things."

Carter, of Walker, was indicted in Brooks' rape in February. He faces first-degree rape and third-degree rape charges.

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