Virginia schedules execution of mentally handicapped woman

Teresa Lewis

“Teresa Lewis, a borderline mentally retarded woman charged with “masterminding” the murder of her husband and stepson in 2002, is slated to be the first woman in almost a century to be executed in Virginia this month.

Lewis, 40, pleaded guilty to hiring two men, Matthew Shallenberger and Rodney Fuller, to murder her husband and stepson so that she could collect a $350,000 life insurance policy. Both triggermen were handed life sentences, but Judge Charles Strauss gave Lewis the death penalty, reasoning that she was “clearly the head of this serpent.”

“And in 2003, Shallenberger wrote in a letter to a fellow inmate that he had deliberately manipulated Lewis into going along with his plan because he needed the money to start a drug business in New York City.

“I met Teresa at the Walmart in Danville, VA. From the moment I met her I knew she was someone who could be easily manipulated,” Shallenberger wrote. “Killing Julian and Charles Lewis was entirely my idea. I needed money, and Teresa was an easy target.”

Three years later, Shallenberger committed suicide in prison, and Lewis’ defense team has not yet been able to use the letter as evidence to a court.”

Lynn Litchfield, Teresa’s chaplain at the maximum-security prison in Virginia where she was confined, describes Lewis in a recent Newsweek article as “slow and overly eager to please — an easy mark, in other words, for a con.”

To read more, click here: Huffington Post: Teresa Lewis, Mentally Disabled Woman To Be Executed In Virginia This Month


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