The 41 year old grandmother, Teresa Lewis, was put to death by lethal injection tonight at the Greensville Correctional Centre, Virginia. She was pronounced dead at 9:13 pm. A witness to the execution said she walked into the death room voluntarily, though she appeared frightened and scared. Lewis is the first woman to be executed in Virgina since 1912, and the 12th woman in the U.S.A since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976. Teresa’s final statement was in amends to one of the family members of the victims.
This death penalty case sparked a lot of controversy because the trigger men in the murders were given life imprisonment while, Teresa, the confessed mastermind, was sentenced to death. Besides confessing to the murder of her husband and step-son shortly after they were committed, she was considered a borderline retard with an IQ of a 13 year old. This latter fact operates to question her animus, her mental competence to plot a murder, an element necessary to give her the specific intent to kill. All hopes slipped away this week for Lewis when Virginia Governor, Robert Mc Donnell denied a stay of execution, followed by by the U.S Supreme Court refusal to accept an application for stay of execution.
Over 5,000 people signed a petition to Mc Donnell to save Teresa’s life, since the refusal to offer executive clemency. The Governor remained unmoved from his earlier position in which he cited a lack of compelling reasons to grant the stay as the reason for his denial.
Before Teresa, the last woman to be executed in Virginia was a 17 year old who was put to death in the electric chair.