Teresa Lewis executed in Virginia

Sept. 23, 2010 at 9:48 PM
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JARRATT, Va., Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Virginia Thursday executed Teresa Lewis, the only woman on the state's death row, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections said.

Larry Traylor told reporters Lewis was executed by lethal injection and pronounced dead at 9:13 p.m. EDT at the Greensville Correctional Center near Jarratt, Va., WTVR-TV, Richmond, reported. EDT. She is the first woman executed in Virginia since 1912 and the first woman executed in the United States in five years.

The 41-year-old grandmother, whose final stay request was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court this week, was executed for the Oct. 30, 2002, murder-for-hire of her husband, Julian Clifton Lewis Jr., and her stepson, Charles J. Lewis, to collect $250,000 in life insurance money.

Triggermen Matthew Jessee Shallenberger, then 29, and friend Rodney Lamont Fuller, 27, were sentenced to life terms at their separate trials. Shallenberger committed suicide in prison in 2006.

Lewis' daughter, Christie Lynn Bean, served five years because she knew about the plan but remained silent.

Lewis' lawyers and campaigners against her execution argue that Lewis is "borderline mentally retarded" and that her execution is therefore unconstitutional.

Before she was put to death, Lewis was permitted to meet with family members and a spiritual adviser, as well as other supporters, WTVR said.

Defense attorneys also contend that with a claimed IQ between 70 and 72, it was impossible for her to have masterminded the killing and that she was manipulated by one of the triggermen, WTVR reported.

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