Low-IQ woman executed through injection in the USBy DPA, IANS
Friday, September 24, 2010
WASHINGTON - The state of Virginia in the US Thursday executed its first woman in nearly a century for the murder of her husband and step-son in a plot concocted to reap their life insurance money, state officials said.
The execution of Teresa Lewis, 41, drew protests in particular because of her low IQ of 72, just two points above the level of mental disability that would have protected her from execution in the state of Virgnia.
Larry Traylor, director of communications for Virginia’s Department of Corrections, said death - by lethal injection - was pronounced at 9.13 p.m. and “there were no complications”.
Her final statement was directed at her stepdaughter, Kathy, whose father Julian Lewis, 51, and brother, CJ Lewis, 25, were shot dead in bed in 2002 by Teresa Lewis’ two accomplices.
Kathy Clifton was the only surviving member of her family, and under Virginia procedures was likely the last person Lewis saw before her execution.
“I just want Kathy to know I love her and I’m very sorry,” Lewis said, according to Traylor.
The US Supreme Coiurt and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell denied her appeals for clemency.
The European Union’s human rights representative Markus Loening said Thursday on German radio that the EU sent another appeal to McDonnell for clemency.
High profile individuals like Bianca Jagger and novelist John Grisham added their protests against the execution, the Washington Post reported.
Lewis’ attorneys argued that her limited intelligence meant she would not have been able to think out the crime. She also suffered from a personality disorder that made her susceptible to manipulation by other people.
Lewis admitted to hiring two accomplices in 2002 to have the two men murdered. Both had to die for her to collect the insurance money. She sat in her kitchen as the shots were fired and did nothing while her husband slowly bled to death.
The two men who fired the shots received life sentences. One of them, Matthew Shallenberger, later indicated in a letter to a girlfriend that he manipulated Lewis like a puppet, and he had sexual contact with her as “just part of what had to be done to get the money”.
Shallenberger later committed suicide in prison.
Lewis was the 12th woman to be put to death out of more than 1,200 executions that have taken place since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. Out of 3,261 people on death row in the US, only 61 are women.
The execution took place at Virginia’s Greensville Correctional Centre. Lewis’ last meal request was for fried chicken, sweet peas with butter, and a desert called “German cake”, Traylor said in an e-mailed statement.