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Low-IQ woman on death row seeking clemency

RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Lawyers for a Virginia woman on death row diagnosed with borderline mental retardation are seeking clemency from the governor.

Teresa Lewis was convicted of participating in a plan with two hit men to kill her husband in 2002. Court records show Lewis stood in another room while the men, Matthew J. Shallenberger and Rodney L. Fuller, shot Julian Lewis and his son C.J. Teresa Lewis waited for 45 minutes before calling police, who said Julian Lewis told them, "My wife knows who done this do me," shortly before he died.

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Shallenberger and Fuller were sentenced to life in prison. The trial judge ruled Lewis was the "mastermind behind the crimes" and sentenced her to death.

Lewis' lawyers are appealing her sentence, arguing her original lawyers were ineffective and her IQ of 72 should protect her from the death penalty.

The Virginia Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit have rejected those arguments, and the final appeal rests with Gov. Robert McDonnell and the U.S. Supreme Court, ABC News reported Thursday.

Lewis' execution is scheduled for Sept. 23, and the Supreme Court's schedule shows they can only consider her case on Sept. 27. One of her lawyers, James E. Rocap III, has filed an emergency application to suspend the sentence until they decide whether to take the case.

The last execution of a woman in Virginia took place in 1912.

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