Act Now to Save a Virginia Woman on Death Row

Teresa Lewis has an IQ of 72. In 2003, she pled guilty to two counts of murder in Virginia. The victims were her husband and his adult son. Immediately after the crime, she told police that another man, Matthew Shallenberger, masterminded the killings by seducing Teresa and convincing her that he should kill her husband so that Teresa could collect life insurance money they could use to “run away” together. Owing to her low intelligence and dependent personality disorder, Teresa was easily manipulated and agreed to the plan. Shallenberger, who was seeing two other women at the time, would later admit that Teresa was exactly what he was looking for and that he seduced her for the life insurance money. Shallenberger had hoped to use the money to fulfill his dream of moving to New York to become a hit man for the mob. Despite his dominant role in the crime and Teresa’s more limited role, Shallenberger received a sentence of life in prison, while Teresa was sentenced to death.

Teresa is not one of the worst of the worst. She has expressed sincere remorse for her crime and has spent her time in prison as a model inmate, whom a prison chaplain has described as “loving, faithful, and childlike.” Virginia, however, has scheduled Teresa’s execution for September 23, 2010.

Unless spared by Virginia’s governor, Teresa would be the first woman executed by the Commonwealth of Virginia since 1912. Please support Teresa’s plea for Gov. Bob McDonnell to spare her life by signing this petition, visiting Teresa’s website and visiting her Facebook page.

The fact that someone like Teresa can be executed, while her more culpable codefendant has received a life sentence, illustrates why the death penalty is wrong: its use is not limited for people who are the worst of the worst.

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Anonymous

This woman committed a crime and needs to pay for it. This is the reason we have so many problems. No one takes responsiblity for there crimes!!!

Anonymous

I don't think anyone's saying she should be let off the hook entirely, I think they're just saying the death penalty isn't quite called for.

Anonymous

There are lots of good reasons to do away with the death penalty entirely. This is another.

Scott B

So because her "IQ" is low, and she's "sorry" she's not guilty, or somehow less guilty for murdering an innocent man?

asbestos

ugh.

Valery Klaw

imho: de novo review = b.s. (Ring v. Arizona, 122 S.Ct. 2428 vs. Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-257)! Also, IQ of 72 vs. "adaptive functioning level"? sad. unjust. wrong.

roald

anon #1 - punished, yes. Executed, no.

Anonymous

Why would anyone want to save such a tool that is so easily persuaded to kill?

Hannah

Scott B, her IQ is not necessarily irrelevant; there's a notion of doli incapax or defense of infants. It is a defense that one did not grasp the nature or seriousness of the of offence she commited. if deemed to not have mental capticty to understand, that person can't be held in full obligations to the law, sometimes any.

Seondly, the death peantly, if it is too be applied, is the most solemn of punishments, and it should be leveled in only the most extreme cases,and with considerations of aggravating factors and migating factors. Even if it does not consider her incapable, the law should consider al factors before killing another person.

Third, the reason for clemency is to allow the state to reconsider, in the case the offender shows repetence.

Finally, the death peantly is principly inept. In many caes it justifies killing a human by humans for the same action it considerds immoral. Should we not put our principles to action? I was told life was Unailable. Well, Locke and Jefferson kept slaves too.

Hannah

Scott B, her IQ is not necessarily irrelevant; there's a notion of doli incapax or defense of infants. It is a defense that one did not grasp the nature or seriousness of the of offence she commited. if deemed to not have mental capticty to understand, that person can't be held in full obligations to the law, sometimes any.

Seondly, the death peantly, if it is too be applied, is the most solemn of punishments, and it should be leveled in only the most extreme cases,and with considerations of aggravating factors and migating factors. Even if it does not consider her incapable, the law should consider al factors before killing another person.

Third, the reason for clemency is to allow the state to reconsider, in the case the offender shows repetence.

Finally, the death peantly is principly inept. In many caes it justifies killing a human by humans for the same action it considerds immoral. Should we not put our principles to action? I was told life was Unailable. Well, Locke and Jefferson kept slaves too.

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