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McDonnell will not spare condemned woman

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) said late Friday that he would not spare the life of a 41-year-old mother and grandmother who is set to become the first woman executed in the state in nearly a century.

Teresa Lewis, who conspired with two men to carry out the 2002 murders of her husband and stepson, is scheduled to be killed by lethal injection Thursday in Virginia's death chamber. Her appeal is still pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lewis's supporters have argued that she does not deserve to die because she is borderline mentally retarded and was manipulated by a much smarter conspirator. They say it is unfair that Lewis was sentenced to death while the two men who fired the deadly shots received life sentences.

"Numerous psychiatrists and psychologists have analyzed Lewis, both before and after her sentencing,'' McDonnell wrote in a statement issued at 7 p.m. "After numerous evaluations, no medical professional has concluded that Teresa Lewis meets the medical or statutory definition of mentally retarded."

Prosecutors and police have portrayed Lewis as a cold mastermind who plotted the killings of her husband, Julian Lewis, and his son, Charles "C.J." Lewis, because she was after the insurance money. They say she gave her conspirators $1,200 to buy guns, set up an alibi for herself during a first failed attempt to have her husband killed, then left the door to her trailer unlocked so the gunmen could slip in.

"Having carefully reviewed the petition for clemency, the judicial opinions in this case, and other relevant materials, I find no compelling reason to set aside the sentence that was imposed by the Circuit Court and affirmed by all reviewing courts," McDonnell wrote.

McDonnell, a death penalty supporter, said in an interview at the state Capitol late Friday that considering clemency petitions is among "the toughest decisions" a governor is faced with. Over the past few weeks, he said, he has read court transcripts and documents submitted by Lewis's attorneys, though he has not talked directly with the families involved. He said Lewis's gender did not enter into his decision.

--Maria Glod and Anita Kumar

By Maria Glod and Anita Kumar  | September 17, 2010; 7:00 PM ET
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell  
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Comments


This was McDonnell's opportunity to do something positive for the Commonwealth. Killing Teresa Lewis is not going to bring her husband back to life. The actual killers are spending life in prison. She should serve the same sentence.

Governor, you are a real loser. I am ashamed to be a Virginian.


Posted by: mortified469 | September 17, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't support the death penalty, but a jury of her peers and feel that she should pay with her life for her part in the planning and death of her step son. Fortunately, her husband survived to tell police about her. I was concerned when a person wrote that she is not mentally capable of executing such a plan; doctors have supported that she is able and did do it.

Posted by: skinfreak | September 17, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I am against the death penalty does not resolved anything how many have been released because were inocent ?

Posted by: gatonegro | September 17, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm not totally comfortable with the death penalty. But when Timothy McVeigh was executed, I was VERY comfortable with it. In this case, it bothers me that the 2 who actually committed the murders got life in prison (though one chose to end his life there). Seems to me that life with no parole, no color TV, and no Internet access would be a reasonable sentence.

Posted by: DecafDrinker | September 17, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Guess VA is the new Texas East--GWBush/AGonzales mentality toward life.

Posted by: dongrahamwp | September 17, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

In fact, McDonnell will be there in his confederate robe and white hood, eating popcorn during the execution.

Posted by: revbookburn | September 17, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

It seem relatively easy to see someone convinced to take out insurance so someone else can share in the returns.... it is retarded for anyone to think they will get away with it however, it is similar to following the false profit of war...also retarded...

Posted by: Wildthing1 | September 17, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Excellent. Well deserved.

Posted by: JebB | September 17, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

It seem relatively easy to see someone convinced to take out insurance so someone else can share in the returns.... it is retarded for anyone to think they will get away with it however, it is similar to following the false profit of war...also retarded...

Posted by: Wildthing1 | September 17, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Why don't you libs check with the dead guys to see what they say? Oh, wait, you can't because they're dead, i.e., but for this woman's actions they'd still be alive.

Good to see the Gov. is doing his job.

Posted by: jnsbear | September 17, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Another sad example of the direction to the right Virginia is taking.

Posted by: gergev | September 17, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe a greater betrayal exist than the premeditated murder of a spouse. Some crimes are such an appalling affront to what it means to be human that simple justice demands the most severe retribution. This is clearly one of those instances.

Posted by: slim2 | September 17, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I certainly had no expectation that he would give her clemency. What I was wondering was whether he wanted to personally push the syringe with his own hand while he laughed out loud.

Posted by: James10 | September 17, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Abortion bad capitol punishment good,
Tea Party

Posted by: waxtraxs | September 17, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Why did she deserve to live? I have never heard anyone answer that.

I am pro abortion and pro death penalty.
Please use the legal abortion services, don't have a baby you don't love and subsequently abuse, turning them in to a criminal that later might require the death penalty. Everyone on death row today should have been aborted and saved us all that trouble. All those in prison for murder right now should have been aborted. Why does no one see this link?

Posted by: thelaw1 | September 17, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Here are some facts I would ask those in favor of the death penalty to comment on.

In the past 15 years, nearly 200 men have on death rows around the US have been exonerated as a result of DNA. But, DNA evidence is available in fewer of 20 percent of the cases in which men are found guilty of capital crimes.

If you are capable of doing the math, please do so. Believing in the death penalty because we know that some people deserve it is a purely theoretical argument. Our criminal justice system is a joke. To be willing to risk executing an innocent person just so you can get a few Timothy McVeighs is stupid and mean.

Posted by: tradeczar | September 17, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

We wouldn't need the death penalty or prisons if people followed the law. I find it interesting that the anti DP folks are putting evil emotions on the Governor when all he is doing is following the law.

You guys have it backwards.

Posted by: thelaw1 | September 17, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Here are some facts I would ask those in favor of the death penalty to comment on.

In the past 15 years, nearly 200 men have on death rows around the US have been exonerated as a result of DNA. But, DNA evidence is available in fewer of 20 percent of the cases in which men are found guilty of capital crimes.

If you are capable of doing the math, please do so. Believing in the death penalty because we know that some people deserve it is a purely theoretical argument. Our criminal justice system is a joke. To be willing to risk executing an innocent person just so you can get a few Timothy McVeighs is stupid and mean.

Posted by: tradeczar

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
You facts seem wrong. DAs are not filing capital crimes where there is not DNA evidence. As to past crimes, that is why we give these scumbags 14 years (avg) to file appeals. That is why we have a governor's review. To make sure the guilty fry.

You guys had you chance to prove that the state fried an innocent man, you had Mike Farrell, you had all the other anti-DP names. DNA had not been tested at the time of the crime. After the death penalty was carried out, the DNA was tested, and it turned out the guilty guy fried. Oh, well. Roger Coleman really did it. Why is it that the anti-DP crowd is never willing to say this or that heinous deserves to live. The argument is always presented as if the guilty scumbag is innocent.

Posted by: thelaw1 | September 17, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Numerous psychiatrists and psychologists should also analyzed the state-sanctioned perpetrators who obviously get some sort of "gratification" by inflicting physical and mental pain on others. I believe those who take part in legalized executions meet the medical definition of profoundly sick sadists! In a modern-day civilized society, life in prison without parole protects the innocents from the dangerous without the need for to degrade society by acts of barbarism.

Posted by: Dorina_Lisson---ACADP | September 17, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I am PROUD of you Governor. Anyone who isn't, is a scumbag

Posted by: solidabs | September 18, 2010 3:58 AM | Report abuse

Im so Proud of you Mr. Governor. Those who aren't, are just scum and the reason for the declination of this country.

Posted by: solidabs | September 18, 2010 4:01 AM | Report abuse


You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price by calling 877-882-4740 or check http://bit.ly/9fDY7U If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and trust me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: quincyhow18 | September 18, 2010 4:44 AM | Report abuse

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