A woman hasn’t been executed in Virginia in almost 100 years. So what did Teresa Lewis do to deserve such a harsh penalty? She hired two men to kill her husband, Julian, and adult step-son, CJ. In October, 2002, Lewis had her boyfriend and another man do the deed. Her motive? Insurance money, which the boyfriend was really looking forward to.
The two gunmen tried to kill Julian on his way home from work, but it didn’t go as planned. They had better luck on October 30th. Lewis left the back door unlocked for them. She waited in the other room while they each committed murder. Then Lewis waited a half hour before calling police.
A judge has decided that the two men who actually did the killing will only get life in prison, but feels that Lewis was the mastermind behind the whole operation and that she should get a harsher punishment. The fact that she gave the men $1,200 to buy weapons doesn’t help her case. But some people are hoping that Lewis’ mental capacities will help her get out of this mess. It turns out that her IQ has been tested to be as low as 70, which is just a little bit above mental retardation.
There is a site dedicated to trying to have Teresa Lewis’ life spared. One of the cornerstones of their argument is that several similar cases did not end with the death penalty, but the last female execution in the United States was five years ago for Frances Newton, a Texas woman who shot and killed her husband and two young kids. Prior to that, Judy Buenoano, aka “The Black Widow,” met the same fate because she tried to murder her fiance, she poisoned her husband, and she drowned her paralyzed son. And in 1982, North Carolinian Velma Barfield was executed for killing her boyfriend.
Only 11 women have been given the death penalty since its return in 1976. If the whole thing doesn’t get called off, Teresa Lewis will be executed by injection Thursday night, September 24, 2010.
Save Teresa Lewis Website