Virginia Plans Rare Execution of Woman

But her lawyers say she's close to being retarded
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2010 4:09 PM CDT
An undated photo provided by the Virginia Department of Corrections shows Teresa Lewis, 40.   (AP Photo/Virginia Department of Corrections)
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(Newser) – Virginia is preparing to execute a woman for the first time in 98 years. Barring intervention from the governor or Supreme Court, the state will kill Teresa Lewis by lethal injection on Sept. 23 for paying two men to kill her husband and stepson in 2002. She's admitted her guilt, but as Time explains, her lawyers say she doesn't deserve to die because she's borderline retarded (with an IQ of about 70), easily manipulated by men, and may have been addicted to painkillers at the time.

Lewis, now 40, colluded with the shooters—who received life sentences—to split her stepson's $250,000 life insurance policy. A judge gave her a death sentence, deeming her the mastermind. Since then, Lewis has found religion in prison, and has "provided some measure of peace" to troubled inmates, says the chaplain of Fluvanna County prison. "I really believe Teresa can be a positive influence inside."

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