Teresa Lewis was executed by the State of Virginia for the murder of her husband and stepson. Teresa Lewis would be executed by lethal injection on September 23, 2010. Lewis was the first and so far only woman to be executed in the State since 1912
Teresa Lewis was born on April 26, 1969 in Danville Virginia. Lewis would get married at sixteen years old and had a daughter however the marriage would soon crumble. Lewis began an addiction to painkillers and alcohol
Teresa Lewis would begin working at a textile mile where she would soon marry the manager, Julian Clifton Lewis Jr. Julian older son would die in a car accident and he would inherit two hundred thousand dollars.
In 2002 Julian youngest son Charles Jr Lewis obtained a $250,000 life insurance policy as he was deploying to Iraq naming his father as the beneficiary and Teresa as the secondary beneficiary.
The next month Teresa began an affair with two much younger men, Matthew Jessee Shallenberger and Rodney Lamont Fuller. Soon the plan came forward to get rid of her husband and stepson to collect the insurance money.
The first time Shallenberger and Fuller attempted to kill Teresa’s husband failed so the pair would try again a week later. The two men shoot both of the men as they lay sleeping in their beds. Teresa Lewis would wait 45 minutes before calling the police. When police arrived Julian would tell them that his wife knew who shot him before passing away. Teresa Lewis attempted to stick to the story the two murders were the result of a home invasion.
Teresa Lewis attempted to withdraw $50,000 from her husbands account and police would also learn that she was gathering the assets of her husband and stepson before the funeral even took place. Teresa Lewis would be arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder.
The judge in the case would rule that Teresa Lewis was the mastermind of the double murders and sentenced her to death. Teresa Lewis would be executed by lethal injection on September 23, 2010
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A 41-year-old woman who conspired to murder her husband and stepson has been executed in the US state of Virginia.
Teresa Lewis was the first woman to be put to death in the US for five years and in Virginia since 1912.
Lewis, who had learning difficulties, used sex and cash to persuade hitmen to kill her family in 2002.
The US Supreme Court and Virginia’s governor refused to stop her execution, which took place at 2100 (0100 GMT) at Greensville Correctional Center
Lewis spent her last hours with her spiritual adviser and family members at the prison in the city of Jarratt.
She requested a final meal of two breasts of fried chicken, sweet peas with butter, a slice of either German cake or apple pie, and a Dr Pepper soft drink, prison spokesman Larry Traylor said.
As she was escorted into the death chamber, Lewis appeared tearful, her jaw clenched, Associated Press reported.
Shortly before her execution, Lewis asked if her stepdaughter Kathy Clifton, daughter of her murdered husband Julian Lewis, was there.
Ms Clifton was in a witness room separated from the execution chamber by a two-way mirror.
“I want Kathy to know that I love her and I’m very sorry,” Lewis said.
Those were her final words. The time of her death was given as 2113 (0113 GMT).
On 30 October 2002, Lewis left the door to her family home in the Virginia city of Danville unlocked for gunmen Matthew Shallenberger and Rodney Fuller.
Lewis’s husband Julian, 51, and stepson, Charles Lewis, 25, were later found dead from shotgun blasts.
Lawyers for Lewis filed a petition for clemency on 25 August 2010, but the US Supreme Court refused to intervene. Two of three women in the nine-judge court voted to halt the execution.
Lewis, who has an IQ of 72, claimed that she did not possess the intelligence to have planned the killings, and that new defence evidence allegedly proved one of the gunmen manipulated her.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said medical and psychological reports provided no compelling reason to grant clemency to Lewis, noting she had admitted her role in the killings.
“After numerous evaluations, no medical professional has concluded that Teresa Lewis meets the medical or statutory definition of mentally retarded,” Mr McDonnell said after he rejected the clemency plea.
Lewis was motivated to hire the gunmen by the desire to inherit her husband’s assets and her stepson’s life insurance. She paid for the weapons and ammunition used in the murders.
Shallenberger and Fuller were both sentenced to life in prison. Shallenberger committed suicide in 2006.
Virginia carries out the second highest number of executions of any state in the US.
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Teresa Lewis spent her last days praying and singing hymns, but she appeared frightened and tense as she entered Virginia’s death chamber.
Lewis, 41, died by injection at 9:13 p.m. Thursday at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Va., according to The Associated Press.
Lewis’ final words were a message for the daughter of the husband she had killed.
“I just want Kathy to know that I love her, and I’m very sorry,” she said.
Her death brought an end to the debate over whether Lewis deserved to die, with supporters saying she was borderline mentally retarded, despite the prosecution’s claim that she was the mastermind of her husband’s and stepson’s murders.
Her attorney, James Rocap III, said Lewis was peaceful before going to her death and had been praying and singing in the days leading up to her execution.
“We thought that we were supposed to be helping her, while she was actually helping us,” Rocap said.
But when Teresa Lewis entered the death chamber to be strapped onto a guerney and injected with the lethal cocktail of drugs, her jaw was visibly clenched. She looked around tensely and appeared frightened, witnesses reported.
In the chamber with her were 14 corrections officers who assisted her onto the guerney and secured her to it with heavy leather straps.
Moments before her execution, Teresa Lewis asked if her husband’s daughter — her stepdaughter — was near. She was. Kathy Clifton was in an adjacent witness room blocked from the inmate’s view by a two-way mirror. Lewis then gave her final words of farewell to her.
As the drugs flowed into her body, her feet bobbed but she otherwise remained motionless. A guard tapped her lightly on the shoulder, reassuringly, as she slipped into death.
Teresa Lewis was sentenced to die for concocting a grisly plan to hire two hit men to kill her husband and stepson in October 2002. Lewis stood by while Julian Lewis and son Charles Lewis were shot at close range as they slept.
She had promised the killers a cut of a life insurance policy to carry out the murders. Both triggermen were sentenced to life in prison, and one committed suicide in 2006.
Despite the controversy surrounding her execution, the Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal earlier this week, and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell had denied her petitions for clemency.
On the website Save Teresa Lewis, run by supporters who tried to have her death sentence commuted, a message was posted in which Lewis thanked them for their work on her behalf. They also posted a farewell Lewis had recently written to fellow inmates.
“Man wants me to die, but I’m not worrying over this, I’m trusting Jesus,” she wrote. She urged the prisoners to turn to Jesus promising, “He will forgive you of all your sins and He will bring you into His loving arms.”
Teresa Lewis, case number 09-4, became the 12th woman to be put to death in the United States since 1976, and left behind 60 women remaining on death row nationally, who constitute less than 2 percent of the total death row population. She joined a group of about 40 women who have been executed in the United States in the past 100 years, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a group that opposes the death penalty and tracks its impact.
Those opposed to Lewis’ death sentence said the fact that she was a woman should not allow her to be treated differently. What they found troublesome was that Teresa Lewis, with an IQ of 72, was borderline mentally retarded and received a more severe sentence than those who pulled the trigger.
“It would be grossly unfair if the one person among those involved who is probably the least danger to society, who is certainly no more guilty than those who carried out the murders and whose disabilities call out for mercy, is the only person scheduled to die for this crime,” said Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.