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Virginia Set to Execute First Woman In Nearly A Century

Virginia Set to Execute First Woman In Nearly A Century

This 2007 file photo provided by newsPRos shows Teresa Lewis, 41, is scheduled to die by injection Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010 for trading sex and money in the hired killings of her husband and stepson in October 2002.

WTOP.com | Associated Press

September 23, 2010

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia was moving forward Thursday with its first execution of a woman in nearly a century amid appeals from the European Union and repercussions that reached as far away as Iran.

Teresa Lewis, 41, was scheduled to die by injection at 9 p.m. at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt for the October 2002 hired killings of her husband and stepson. To procure the hit men, prosecutors said, she used sex, cash and a promised cut of the insurance benefits the killings would reap her.

The U.S. Supreme Court and Gov. Bob McDonnell declined to intervene. All her legal appeals have been exhausted, her attorney said.

In a state with the second busiest death chamber in the U.S., the Lewis execution has stirred an unusual amount of attention because of her gender, claims she lacked the intelligence to mastermind the killings and the post-conviction emergence of defense evidence that one of the triggermen manipulated her.

Lewis’ supporters say she’s a changed woman, and point to testimonials from former prison chaplains and inmates that Lewis comforted and inspired other inmates with her faith and the hymns and country gospel tunes she sang at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women.

In a letter this month to McDonnell, the European Union asked the governor to commute her sentence to life, citing Lewis’ mental capacity. Her lawyers have said testing shows Lewis is borderline mentally retarded.

The European Union’s ambassador to the U.S. wrote that the EU “considers that the execution of people with mental disorders of all types is contrary to minimum standards of human rights …”

Earlier this week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Western media of having a double standard in reporting on the Lewis execution.

He compared coverage of the Lewis case to the “heavy propaganda” campaign against the case of an Iranian woman who had been sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery.

“Meanwhile, nobody objects to the case of an American woman who is going to be executed,” he was quoted as saying during a speech Monday to Islamic clerics and other figures in New York.

Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center agreed that the death penalty is a human rights issue, but said the Iranian president is “the wrong messenger.”

“The United States is, of course, interested in human rights abuses,” he said.

McDonnell said he had thoroughly reviewed court records and medical and psychological reports and found no compelling reason to grant clemency to Lewis. He noted she admitted her role in the slayings.

Lewis met Rodney Fuller and Matthew Shallenberger in a Walmart store in Pittsylvania County and traded sex and money for weapons for the hired killing of her husband, Julian Clifton Lewis Jr. His son, Charles Lewis, entered the U.S. Army Reserve and had a $250,000 life insurance policy, naming his father the beneficiary.

Both men would have to die for Lewis to collect.

On the night before Halloween in 2002, Shallenberger and Fuller came in and shot both men several times with shotguns. As Julian lay bleeding, Lewis grabbed his pants and wallet and gave the men the $300 inside.

Lewis’ attorneys note that Shallenberger later claimed he was the mastermind and duped Lewis to get some of the insurance money. Shallenberger committed suicide in prison in 2006. He and Fuller were sentenced to life for the killings.

Lewis’ execution would be the first of a woman in Virginia since 1912. Texas held the most recent U.S. execution of a woman in 2005.

Out of more than 1,200 people put to death since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, only 11 have been women.


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  • White_shirt_max50

    uncledennis1

    over 3 years ago

    23118 Comments

    I am certain Satan met her with open arms. The "Big Sleep".

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    A hearty "Well Done " for good ole Virginia.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    Good prevails over evil.

  • My_kids_027_max50

    grant319

    over 3 years ago

    1208 Comments

    You do the crime and it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, you deserve exactly what you get no matter to what extent that is.

  • Th_detective_max50

    Retleo

    over 3 years ago

    5524 Comments

    Update: 9-23-10, 2300hrs EST
    Just reported on the 11:00pm news, she has been executed! Good riddence.

  • Lol_sun_in_clouds_02_max50

    Djfludd

    over 3 years ago

    230 Comments

    GOOD RIDDENS!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    Hey Teresa: You could divorced the guy and marry a rich man... You know..?
    (I mean, if you could find one... LOL)
    But off course, you also had his son killed, to ensure you'll get the the big prize, so here is your big prize.
    There is a tendency in the CJS to be less severe towards the females... I have always wonder WHY?
    Just fry the CAPITAL B. She was the mastermind behind the whole thing.

  • Sfa_iv_max50

    revCCBeasley

    over 3 years ago

    2944 Comments

    Yes, I am for the death Penatly. We all have to atone for our wrong doing(s). Some more than others.

  • 74596_129289523905506_927477597_n_max50

    CadetAK

    over 3 years ago

    3428 Comments

    I just want to know why the heck the EU is involved in this??

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    kadan

    over 3 years ago

    626 Comments

    I find it interesting.... the people who did the killing got life, the person who planned the killing got death... personally, I think all 3 should have received the death penalty. I think she should go. This has nothing to do with the European Union. Sentencing someone to death for planning a murder is a hell of a lot different from stoning a woman because she is allegedly an adulterous! Perhaps someone in EU would like to take her place.... oh say Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- since he wants to stick his nose in....

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    I SAY DUST OFF OLE SPARKY, FRY HER UP CRISPY

  • Cuffs_badge_gun_1__max50

    revcarey70

    over 3 years ago

    234 Comments

    Sweet! No more free meals and housing at the cost to us!

  • Shenanigans7sy_max50

    vsp_lowe

    over 3 years ago

    2956 Comments

    Hookem and bookem!! Then turn around and tryem and Fryem! To bad she gets the easy way out with the needle.

  • Police_max50

    phantoms5656

    over 3 years ago

    36 Comments

    Put her to sleep! There's no reason for those two men to have died... and the European Union can just stay over there for all i'm concerned

  • White_shirt_max50

    uncledennis1

    over 3 years ago

    23118 Comments

    The "Big Sleep". She knew exactly what she was doing.

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