Female Va. death row inmate couldn't have plotted murders, attorneys say
Attorneys for Virginia's only female death row inmate say she was too dependent on other people and prescription drugs to have plotted to have her husband and stepson killed to collect insurance money.
Attorneys for Teresa Lewis argued Tuesday before a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond that her trial attorneys erred by failing to present evidence of her drug addiction and dependency disorder at her sentencing.
A state attorney argued that Lewis masterminded the plot, using sexual favors and manipulation to convince two men to kill her husband and stepson so she could collect a $250,000 life insurance payment.
Lewis pleaded guilty to the crime in 2002. The gunmen were sentenced to life in prison.
Lewis' daughter served five years because she knew about the plan but remained silent.
The court usually takes months to issue a ruling.
Lewis would be the first woman executed in Virginia since 1912. The Post has created an online database of Virginia executions.
This item has been updated since it was first published.
-- Associated Press
Washington Post Editors
March 23, 2010; 11:32 AM ET
Categories: Death Penalty , From the Courthouse , Virginia
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