September 21st, 2010
06:30 PM ET

Supreme Court rejects woman's death-row appeal

The  Supreme Court on Tuesday denied an appeal by Teresa Lewis to halt her execution in the state of Virginia. The execution is scheduled for Thursday night.

Lewis pleaded guilty to her role in the 2002 slayings of her husband and stepson in their rural home near Danville, about 145 miles from Richmond, Virginia. Two male co-conspirators - the triggermen - were given life in prison without parole.

Lewis and her lawyers had formally asked Gov. Bob McDonnell to spare her life, arguing she has an IQ that is borderline mentally retarded and that she was manipulated to commit the crimes by a dominant male co-defendant.

McDonnell on Friday rejected the request, and Lewis' lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court.


Filed under: Crime • Supreme Court • Virginia
soundoff (218 Responses)
  1. Eddie

    So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye

    September 21, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mark silvers

    Justice: regular and extra crispy!

    September 21, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Holly

    Fry all 3 of them!!

    September 21, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bert

    Its a serious blow to the scales of justice when the men who saw the eyes of her stepson and husband before brutally shooting them, face a comfy life in jail on the taxpayers dime. Meanwhile the borderline mentally retarded mom (who didn't pull the trigger) will burn to appease the public. Where's the equal justice under the law?

    September 21, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      If serving life without parole is so comfy then by all means go there yourself. That woman was NOT borderline anything. She planned and paid for the execution of two people. The entire reason the two gentlemen are dead is HER.

      September 21, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rich

    Thou shall not kill. Seems simple enough. No means no, even for governments.

    September 21, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim d.

      was burning witches at the stake in salem, mass not included in that simple statement?

      September 21, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • SDCyclist

      That's slightly different, Jim. Everyone in Salem was high on mushroom fungus. Maybe a little retarded too... but definitely high as a kite.

      September 21, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Indianadelae

      1) Jim D.: nobody was burned at Salem. That was a European punishment for heresy and witchcraft. Get your facts straight when making such a glib assessment.
      2) SDcyclist: Ergot poisoning has been widely discredited since only a few individuals were afflicted, and was probably pretty irrelevant considering the time and place. I just like to think we've moved on from that mindset, but sometimes I'm not so sure...I would like to see the full reports by who deemed her "borderline retarded" and who deemed her competent.

      And for those wondering, I'm as Republican as they come. You see, MikinAZ, I'm capable of weighing each issue per its own merit as well.

      September 21, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • chuck

      Actually, it says 'thou shalt not murder' (rasatch being the word mistranslated). It also states that capital punishment is acceptable. It also states That Jesus 'came to fulfill the law, not change it's.
      Don't speak religion when u don't understand it to begin with.

      September 21, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carlos Marin

      'Thou shall not kill' is a very poor translation. We 'kill' viruses and bacteria with medicine, we 'kill' plants and animals to eat. The correct translation would be 'Thou shall not murder'. Execution after trial is by definition not murder although some liberals would claim it is.

      September 22, 2010 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. Chris

    I don't know where I stand on this......I mean if her IQ is even borderline an issue then she shouldn't be put to death. I believe some people are evil and have zero chance of being anything else. But if a person can be helped and changed then we owe it to ourselves, that person, and to God to try. All the overzealous death punishment people out there don't really make sense. You want death to all these people but if it was hitting a little closer to home then it would be a different song and dance.

    September 21, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Her IQ is fine. That whole retardation thing is a ruse by the defense. She was a 100% fully functional member of society before the crime. She had no history what-so-ever of any sort of metal (or physical) limitations. She carefully planned and paid for two executions. Now it is time for hers.

      September 21, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diane

      Chris...I was feeling sympathetic to this woman, as it says on the website that she has "borderline mental retardation". Upon reading further, although she did drop out of high school, she had never failed a grade up until then. Also, she eventually completed a course as a "certified nursing assistant". Borderline mental retardation? I don't think so. I do believe she was stupid and manipulated, but she did know what she was doing. As an aside, I don't believe in capital punishment. I think she should be given life without parole. I'm not going to argue the "taxpayer's" debate...I understand their reasoning too. Oh one more thing...who can definitely say that lethal injection is humane? I don't think we've ever had a firsthand account from someone who has been through it!

      September 23, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. slym

    @ Mr. Schmidt,
    The laws of man are inspired by the laws of God if you want to use the Bible as a means to support your statement, be aware of your full reference material, not just what you want to make use of. Thank you and have a nice day.

    September 21, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. upNsmoke

    She came up with the plan, she goes down for it on Thursday. Regardless if she pulled the trigger or not. I have zero reservations if they pulled the others out of there respective jail cells and did a community execution. What is sickening about it all, is that is has taken this much time. The very minute that she and the others admitted to it, they should have been giving 15 minutes to call family, pray and then hang for the closest tree !!! People have to realize, YOU CAN KILL people or plan the matter out, without deserving the same.

    September 21, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • kite005

      I thin if you read more about it, it sounds like the Schallenberger guy was the mastermind of it and he got a life sentence.

      September 21, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. glen

    The only bad thing about this ( as someone said)is how long it took. I like VA, if you kill someone here, we kill you back! (Credit Ron White)

    September 21, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Eddie

    Okay, so why does she get put to death and the two men that actually killed her husband only get life in prison? All 3 of them should die for this.

    September 21, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • kite005

      One, who it sounds like is the real mastermind, already committed suicide.

      September 21, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    So everyone that is screaming for the death penalty would you be doing the same if it was a 14 year old child? Would you be the one to condemn that person to death? It's easy to sit in your lazy boy at home and say all this but if the weighty decision was on your shoulders and the blood were on your hands would you still feel the same way?

    September 21, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • SDCyclist

      I agree with one exception. The blood IS on all our hands. Each time we murder someone in the name of justice we creep closer and closer to being evil. We're horrified when Iran wants to stone a women to death for breaking the law but perfectly fine with murdering a retarded woman? My gut feeling is that most Americans don't care about the death penalty issue as much as they say they do. Most people are so far removed from it ever touching their lives that it's just too inconvenient and bothersome to look at the facts – like the hundreds of people that have been executed and then later exonerated through DNA testing. Every single American should be horrified by that fact and demand an end to the death penalty. The level of disregard for life boggles my mind. I can't understand that perspective at all. I think most people who believe that death penalty is a fair form of justice are just angry about something deep in their core – mommy didn't breast feed them long enough, daddy beat them with a belt, etc.

      September 21, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dragon

      Actually, Yes I would be. At 14 you are fully aware of what you are doing, know you are ending a human life, and don't care. If you are that amoral at 14, I seriously doubt you can be rehabilitated, and I for one don't want my tax dollars going to attempt it and likely fail and then continue to have to house their sorry asses till they hit their majority and are released to go out and do it again.

      I'll tell you something straight. If it were a family member that did it... I WOULD feel the same way.

      September 21, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jyagoda

    She has developmental deficencies

    September 21, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. AK

    I suggest you anti-penalty folks read a little Greek play caled the Orestia. In it, justiifcation for the existence of a State, vice clan law, was first outlined. A state gains legitimacy and continuity when it takes the responsibility for punishing crime away from clan vendettas. As long as the state is willing to execute murderers amongst us, then we as citizens have no reason to consider devolving to clan justice, where every family metes out it's own revenge even up to murder inflcited on one of its own. Put simply, if my son was murdered, as long as I trust the State properly to punish the murderer, I have no reason to make my own law and hunt down the murderer – or his family – myself.

    In other words..

    Like civilization? Support the death penalty.

    September 21, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. M22

    It actually costs a lot more to execute an inmate than to give a "life in prison" sentence. I suggest researching this subject.

    September 21, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • wylie

      It only costs more to kill an inmate because of all the Liberal lawyers that file appeals and drag it on forever. What would be cheaper than marching them out at sunrise the day after the convition to hang em'???

      September 21, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Logical2010

      Well, if cost is the most important consideration, it costs far more to keep convicts locked up than to just let them go after conviction.

      September 21, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jp

    If you go to texas and kill somebody, Texas will kill you back! Let her fry!

    September 21, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
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