Gov. Bob McDonnell said tonight that he won’t stop next week’s scheduled execution of Teresa Lewis, who would become the first woman executed in Virginia in nearly a century.
Lewis was convicted of capital murder for conspiring with two men to kill her husband and stepson in Pittsylvania County in 2002.
Staff writer Laurence Hammack has more here.
Here’s McDonnell’s statement:
“On May 15, 2003, Teresa Lewis pled guilty to two counts of capital murder for hire of her husband, Julian Lewis, and her stepson, Charles Lewis, as well as other associated charges. On July 1, 2003, the Pittsylvania County Circuit Court sentenced her to death on both counts. On July 29, 2010, the Pittsylvania County Circuit Court set the execution date for September 23, 2010.
The record reflects that in the fall of 2002, Teresa Lewis conspired with two men to murder her husband and her stepson, a U.S. Army reservist set to deploy for active duty, in order to obtain her husband’s assets, including the life insurance proceeds from another son’s accidental death, and her stepson’s life insurance policy. In furtherance of the plot, Teresa Lewis agreed to share the proceeds with her co-conspirators, paid for the firearms and ammunition used in the murders, and enticed her 16 year-old daughter to become involved in the murder plans. Teresa Lewis intentionally left a rear door to their home unlocked to allow the co-conspirators to easily enter the premises. After one unsuccessful attempt to kill her husband a week earlier, the plan reached its tragic conclusion in the early hours of October 30, 2002. After her co-conspirators shot the two victims multiple times with shotguns at close range, Lewis waited more than 45 minutes to call emergency response personnel, during which time her husband was still alive. Lewis initially denied involvement in the murders but confessed a week later when faced with the evidence against her.
Lewis filed a Petition for Executive Clemency on August 25, 2010, requesting that I commute the sentence of death to a sentence of life without parole.
Lewis’s guilty plea, verdict, and sentence have been reviewed by state and federal courts. The Supreme Court of Virginia, the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit have unanimously upheld the sentence in this case. The Supreme Court of the United States denied her petition for certiorari once and has another petition pending. Lewis does not deny that she committed these heinous crimes.
Numerous psychiatrists and psychologists have analyzed Lewis, both before and after her sentencing. After numerous evaluations, no medical professional has concluded that Teresa Lewis meets the medical or statutory definition of mentally retarded.
Having carefully reviewed the petition for clemency, the judicial opinions in this case, and other relevant materials, I find no compelling reason to set aside the sentence that was imposed by the Circuit Court and affirmed by all reviewing courts.
Accordingly, I decline to intervene and have notified the appropriate counsel and family of my decision.”