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Teresa Lewis to be executed tonight

Teresa Lewis, who plotted the killings of her husband and stepson, is scheduled to die by injection in Virginia's death chamber Thursday night. She would be the first woman the state has executed in nearly 100 years.

The U.S. Supreme Court and Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) both have declined to halt the execution, which is set to be carried out at 9 p.m. at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt.

Lewis, 41, was condemned to death for plotting the 2002 killings of Julian Lewis and his son, Charles “C.J.” Lewis, to collect insurance money. Her two conspirators, the men who fired the deadly shots, were sentenced to life terms.

Lewis’s supporters have pleaded for her to be spared, saying she is borderline mentally retarded and was manipulated by a smarter conspirator. Her punishment, they say, should not be harsher than that of the triggermen.

Lewis's case has generated international interest. In a letter this month to McDonnell, the European Union asked the governor to commute her sentence to life, citing Lewis's mental capacity. And Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Western media of having a double standard in reporting the execution, comparing it to the coverage of a woman in Iran who was sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery.

But prosecutors say Lewis was a mastermind of the deadly plan, giving the men money to buy the weapons and orchestrating an earlier failed attempt to have her husband killed.

“Instead of pulling a trigger on a gun, she pulled a couple of young men in to pull the trigger for her,” Pittsylvania County Commonwealth’s Attorney David Grimes told a judge at the time.

A woman was last executed in the United States in 2005, when Frances Newton was killed by injection in Texas for the fatal shootings of her husband and two young children. Eleven women have been executed nationwide since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.

Lewis’s supporters said that, during her years in prison, she has expressed deep remorse for her crime and became a counselor to other women.

-- Maria Glod


The following women have been executed in the United States since 1976, when capital punishment was reinstated.

Margie Velma Barfield, by injection on Nov. 2, 1984 in North Carolina. Barfield confessed in court to poisoning four people, including her mother. She was convicted in 1978 of using ant and roach poison to kill her fiance, a tobacco farmer.
Karla Faye Tucker, by injection on Feb. 3, 1998 in Texas. Tucker and a friend killed a man and woman in 1983. Tucker used a pickax.
Judy Buenoano, in the electric chair March 30, 1998 in Florida. She was executed for the arsenic poisoning of her husband in 1971, but also drowned her paralyzed son.
Betty Lou Beets, by injection on Feb. 24, 2000 in Texas for fatally shooting her fifth husband. Beets also was convicted of shooting and wounding her second husband and was charged, but never tried, in the shooting death of her fourth husband.
Christina Riggs, by injection on May 2, 2000 in Arkansas for suffocating her two children.
Wanda Jean Allen, by injection on Jan. 11, 2001 in Oklahoma. She was condemned for killing her lesbian lover. She also served two years for fatally shooting a childhood friend.
Marilyn Plantz, by injection on May 1, 2001 in Oklahoma. She was convicted of hiring two men to beat and burn her husband.
Lois Nadean Smith, by injection Dec. 4, 2001 in Oklahoma. Smith killed her son’s ex-girlfriend.
Lynda Lyon Block, in the electric chair on May 10,2002 in Alabama for the 1993 murder of a policeman.
Aileen Wuornos, by injection Oct. 9, 2002 in Florida. Wuornos was a prostitute who killed six men.
Frances Newton, by injection Sept. 14, 2005 in Texas for the fatal shootings of her husband and two children.


By Washington Post editors  | September 23, 2010; 12:38 PM ET
Categories:  Death Penalty, Maria Glod, Virginia  
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Comments

She's walked the green mile and should be in the death house by now. Getting ready to have her last meal. It is my hope that she has truely repented, you reap what you sow.

Posted by: msdooby1 | September 23, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

it is interesting to note that a very high percent of the 11 women (soon 12) executed in USA since Velma Barfield in NC in 1984 were convicted for insurance related schemes, as is the case in VA execution later today. In addition to NC's Barfield, Judy Buenoano in FL (known affectionately as "Black Widow" after female spider that kills its mate); Plantz in OK; and Beets in TX all died as a result of insurance scheme homicides. which would put the female executed for insurance scheme murders at just about 50 percent. Of the 2,000 men executed in the US since
Gary Gilmore in Utah 1977, only a small handful were executed for a role in insurance related schemes, and then only as triggerman for another or as particpants in the conspiracy plot (such as Tony Antone in FL in 1984 who transferred either money or the weapon, but neither shot the victim nor launched the murder for hire scheme, of an undercover drug policeman). records indicate that no male has been executed who would have actually collected on an insurance policy on the person killed since the Gilmore execution.

Posted by: RoguesPalace | September 23, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Circular logic: kill a person and you will be killed. Government sponsored homicide.

Posted by: scz1 | September 23, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Can't speak for anyone else but, for my last meal we'd be looking at a HUGE steak(medium rare), a baked potato the size of my head loaded with butter & sour cream, a nice salad with ranch, vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and a Coke.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | September 23, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Her lawyer got her killed.

She had a right to a jury trial and no Virginia jury would have executed her. She could have traded her guilty plea for a life sentence. Instead, she pleaded guilty to capital murder before a judge. The judge, having no reason to give her life, comdemned her to death.

Why didn't her lawyer make a deal? Because her lawyer didn't want to work a jury trial at the public defender rate.

Posted by: blasmaic | September 23, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: scz1
Circular logic: kill a person and you will be killed. Government sponsored homicide.
===========================================
Wrong on so many fronts.

First of all, the VAST majority of murderers do not get executed so one does not automatically lead to the next.

Self induced suicide is more like it. With your "logic", you must be a liberal expecting the government to be responsible for everything.

If the government somehow induced the person to murder someone; that would or could be loosely interpreted as "government sponsored" as in a wartime situation.

The person who murders someone outside of war is initiating the action and is entirely responsible for the reaction.

Posted by: Bcamp55 | September 23, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me as a European that the poor and disaffected are of the majority that are executed in the United States.
This woman would not be awaiting execution if she had the means to pay for a fair trial.
But it's hard to expect more from a nation who's God is the dollar.

Posted by: artfrazer | September 23, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Justice will finally be served. Maybe she'll do better in the next life.

Posted by: randysbailin | September 23, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

circular logic: kill a person and you will be killed. Government sponsored homicide.

Posted by: scz1
=======================
Circular logic: Steal from somone and you will be forced to pay restitution and a fine. Government sponsored theft from the poor criminal.
Circular logic: Grab a woman, hold her against her will, rape her. Next thing you know, cops grab you, you are held against your will, and raped in prison. Government sponsored being held against your will in conditions that encourage rape.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | September 23, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

She made the mistake of going to trial and assuming she could plead guilty and get a deal to testify against Shallenberger in return for life imprisonment. She even said so in her statement prior to learning her sentence.

However Shallenberger's fellow gunman Rodney Fuller had already cut such a deal with the Commonwealth Attorney so no deal remained available. Thus Teresa's gamble went for naught.

Posted by: vuac | September 23, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The death penalty is a barbaric throwback not worthy of a great nation. Every other industrialized democracy has eliminated it and so should we. Considering how many people think government can do nothing right, how is it that we allow government the awesome power to take life itself? Teresa Lewis should be spared, not because she herself is remorseful or incompetent, but because we diminish ourselves by killing her. End the death penalty now.

Posted by: DCLawyer1 | September 23, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

What'd she eat?

Posted by: Meepo | September 23, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

artfrazer

You are correct! I say, send the poor, disaffected murderers to Europe where there is true justice.

Posted by: sbf845 | September 23, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"The death penalty is a barbaric throwback not worthy of a great nation. Every other industrialized democracy has eliminated it and so should we."

Thats incorrect. Japan, Russia, Taiwan, Korea, and Thailand are all industrialized nations -- all use the DP.

Posted by: rdidonna1 | September 23, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Blasmaic - "Her lawyer got her killed.
She had a right to a jury trial and no Virginia jury would have executed her."

No, legal observors said she was about the most unsympathetic murder defendent they had encountered in their memory. While her husband lay bleeding to death in the other room, Lewis called a friend up to chat about shopping for 14 minutes. She farmed out her 16-year old daughter into inducing one killer to participate in return for sex.
The killers had turned states evidence against her, her prostituted kid was ready to testify. Her ONLY shot at avoiding a sure jury death sentence was to cut the jury out and throw herself on the mercy of a judge (who reviewing the facts, thought she didn't deserve mercy).

==============================
"It seems to me as a European that the poor and disaffected are of the majority that are executed in the United States.
This woman would not be awaiting execution if she had the means to pay for a fair trial."

It is a snotty European concept that unlike in their enlightened lands, crime and justice in America are purely driven by socioeconomics.

Like America, Europe has over 100 million + people in humble careers and circumstances that manage to for the most part, avoid criminal lives. And while a immigrant Muslim may be more tempted to rob a storeowner with a knife than the son of a Danish factory owner, I didn't seem to notice any sliding scale of sentencing while I was in Europe based on income of the crook.
And lets be honest. In Europe like in America - in many cases determining the guilt and circumstances warranting mercy from the sentencing judges is obvious and fact driven and having the finest Advocate in France or Barrister in the UK makes not a whit of difference.
In America, billionaire Jewish financier Bernie Madoff was caught with the goods. He was as we say, "toast". The best lawyers in NYC couldn't help him. Now he is scrubbing floors in jail under supervision of a 22K a year by a 24-year old Dominican caught trying to import coke through a airport and watched over by a big black guard who worked at McDonalds and by a small white female guard hailing exactly from Theresa Lewis's socioeconomic class, without the soon to be dead Lewis's moral baggage.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | September 23, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Circular logic: Steal from somone and you will be forced to pay restitution and a fine. Government sponsored theft from the poor criminal.
Circular logic: Grab a woman, hold her against her will, rape her. Next thing you know, cops grab you, you are held against your will, and raped in prison. Government sponsored being held against your will in conditions that encourage rape.
Posted by: ChrisFord1

-----------------

This is the dumbest defense of the death penalty I have ever seen.

The State is killing someone. They aren't stealing their lunch money or locking them up. They are taking their life....

Posted by: ghokee | September 23, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

ChrisFord1:

"Circular logic: Grab a woman, hold her against her will, rape her. Next thing you know, cops grab you, you are held against your will, and raped in prison. "

And the problem with this is ... ?

Posted by: Moonwolf | September 23, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

May Teresa Lewis rot in Hades for her evil and treachery.

The treacherous betray! With treachery the treacherous betray!

Posted by: uncouth_rustic | September 23, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

what a sad commentary on the legal profession and on government in Virginia and in the United States

is the the ultimate achievement for a lawyer in Virginia - to kill ?

.... a mentally retarded woman ?

what is the legal argument ? with an I.Q. of 72 she is competent, but if it were 69 she would be spared ?

those I.Q. tests are broad brush, for crying out loud - they point to a range

for God's sake, have lawyers in America gotten this sick ?

Posted by: snorfy | September 23, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

The true crime is that she'll only get a needle in the arm instead of something that she deserves.

What I love are the morons on here that say she should be spared. I'm willing to wager that if their mother, father, brother, sister, child, etc, were the victim of this crime, they would be singing a different tune.

Let's use this as an example, one of these animals that rapes and murders a child...they deserve to continue to live. They get to live with a roof, three square meals, and exercise time each and every day. While there are people in this country who live worse and actually find a way to make it through their lives without murdering someone?

Perhaps you could find it in your bleeding heart to get to one of these monsters before they get arrested. Let them live in your house with your family for the rest of their lives. You can pay for their housing and food.

Meanwhile, if it behaves like an animal, treat it like an animal and put it down.

Posted by: RobInVaBeach | September 23, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Killing a person with the mind of a child is not much different than killing a child. I am ashamed to be a Virginian tonight.

Posted by: steve_k2 | September 23, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Let the Drip, Drip, Drip begin.......

Posted by: UpAndOver | September 23, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Reminds me of this story about this Ontario man convicted of murder in Quebec. When asked if he had any last requests, he said, "Well, I'd like to learn French".

Posted by: Nemo24601 | September 23, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Only in America does it take a decade or two before justice is served, and then only partially. Execute all three, the mastermind and triggermen. Done.

Posted by: wclayton3 | September 23, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to know how this execution is in any way comparable to the Iranian woman sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery. I'm wondering . . . Where is the man who was caught in adultery with her? Why isn't he being stoned also? Are they too busy celebrating his 'manly' conquests with him? Some cultures do believe that men are supposed to have sex with as many women as possible. It's what makes them 'men'. . . . .

Posted by: momof20yo | September 23, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

stevek2 wrote- Killing a person with the mind of a child is not much different than killing a child. I am ashamed to be a Virginian tonight.

========================================
A "child" could not have planned and implemented this murder. Move to Maryland.

Posted by: 12oreo | September 23, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

It takes a real creep to earn a living working on an execution team. I wish someone would begin exposing these "executioners" on Facebook or something.

Posted by: localgoober | September 23, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

How exactly does killing a killer achieve anything? Is that supposed to stop the next potential murderer? Virginia will save the taxpayer some money, that's all. Executions are so middle-ages...so backward..so vindictive with no purpose, other than to save a few dollar.

Posted by: jeanlucca | September 23, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the comments on getting a fair trial remember the old adage about our legal system:
"You get all the justice you can afford"

Posted by: dlhazer | September 23, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Good riddens.

Posted by: jgrant1836 | September 23, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

"How exactly does killing a killer achieve anything? Is that supposed to stop the next potential murderer? Virginia will save the taxpayer some money, that's all. Executions are so middle-ages...so backward..so vindictive with no purpose, other than to save a few dollar.

Posted by: jeanlucca | September 23, 2010 7:29 PM"

****************

Except that it usually costs MILLIONS of dollars because of appeals! My thinking is that all 3 should have gotten the same penalty...life in prison in solitary confinement with no TV or Internet access.

Posted by: DecafDrinker | September 23, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

ChrisFord1, no Virginia jury has condemned a woman to death in a century. But the point is that they could have bargained for a life sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. But her lawyer didn't want to work a jury trial at the public defender rate.

Her lawyer got her killed.

Posted by: blasmaic | September 23, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Blasmaic- She had already confessed and was facing a jury pool that was very conservative and would not have looked kindly on someone who had killed her husband and son-in-law who was fresh off active duty in Afghanistan.

Lewis should have kept her mouth shut to police then plea bargained before reaching the courtroom. Alas Rodney Fuller beat her to it. Shallenberger was tried by judge not jury.

Posted by: vuac | September 23, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Enough - on with it.

Posted by: JebB | September 23, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

I have no personal knowledge of anything related to this case...but I do feel sad that we are killing a woman tonight.

Posted by: nomorewholefoods | September 23, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Yay. Less filth in the world.

Bye Bye!

Posted by: mikecapitolhill | September 23, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I am not in favor of the death penalty and it is a sad commentary on our society that we have it. However, what's the difference between executing a woman and a man?

Posted by: dcc1968 | September 23, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

No Virginia jury would have executed her.

She was a conspirator but she didn't make the bloody mess, and in the sentencing phase they can bring in all sorts of things to make the jury hesitate on killing a female.

The point is, the judge and prosecutors would have accepted a deal if only her lawyer could have faked like a jury trial was going to happen otherwise.

But everyone knew her lawyer just didn't want to work a jury trial at the public defender rate.

Posted by: blasmaic | September 23, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm praying for this woman. Please God, someone step in and stop this execution! I read more about her today and this woman was ill and taken advantage of. He admitted he planned it. She's not guilty of the crime for which she was sentence to death!

Posted by: SusanMarie2 | September 23, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I'd prefer the company of a repentant Teresa Lewis than that of the rabid "burn the witch" crowd here.

The state is executing a human being in our name, in cold blood. A human which has already been rendered harmless by imprisonment.

There is no public safety justification for this killing. But there is VERY strong electoral justification.

Posted by: vfr2dca | September 23, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

artfrazer: It seems to me as a European that the poor and disaffected are of the majority that are executed in the United States.
==================================
No, you idiot, we execute murderers, not the poor. A difference you seem unable to comprehend.

Posted by: dgray | September 23, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

"I have no personal knowledge of anything related to this case...but I do feel sad that we are killing a woman tonight.
Posted by: nomorewholefoods"

Sadder than if a monster born with a different set of genetalia was being put down?

----------------------
Blaismatic "She was a conspirator but she didn't make the bloody mess, and in the sentencing phase they can bring in all sorts of things to make the jury hesitate on killing a female"

1. Yeah, and bin Laden personally never even mussed the hair on the head of an infidel and deserves lighter treatment than the killers he dispatched....
And HItler? Name a Jew or Soviet or Pole he ever personally harmed!!

2. Her lawyer and court observers all concluded there was nothing of any redeeming value to her and if a jury got the case, she was toast.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | September 23, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: artfrazer: "This woman would not be awaiting execution if she had the means to pay for a fair trial."
---------------------------------------

What is it with Europeans? Did all the migration to the U.S. drain their population of the logic gene?

This women wouldn't be on death row if she didn't have her husband & son murdered. artclueless, do you think she would be being executed if she DIDN'T have her family members murdered? Well, do you?

Posted by: illogicbuster | September 23, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Lethel injection performed by the Commonwealth is Murder.

Posted by: 18thGAmericanGirl | September 23, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

We need more jails, longer sentences, and more executions so people will think twice before committing crimes. Executions should be public also. Why? Because that is the only way people learn!

Posted by: stinkingtuna | September 23, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

It is wrong to kill. It is wrong for anyone to kill. If we accept this statement, then the government/state/executioners are hypocrites.

Posted by: glmrtndrthy | September 23, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

This country puts more people in prison than any other country, and it's STILL not enough for some.

And we use the death penalty more than any other advanced democracy, and we STILL have the highest murder rate among them.

Other countries have less crime and higher quality of life, and they do it without resorting to massive levels of imprisonment and judicial homicide. Maybe we should look around at what the more successful countries are doing.

Posted by: vfr2dca | September 23, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse


With her IQ, she should have received life with no parole.

Posted by: mortified469 | September 23, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

The idjit governor is killing her only to make political points -- as he thinks that he rules over a bunch of frothing fools.

If she is dead, let her have peace. If she still hasn't been killed, a certain degree of mercy would be welcome.

But this is teabagger heaven now -- they want blood and they will get it anyway they can. She certainly is responsible for fewer deaths than Flight Suit Boy, but he is still allowed to drink himself to death in Texas.

We syuck!

Posted by: mitt1968 | September 23, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

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