VA. may execute the first woman in that state in 98 years. on Sept.23.
frankly i have known almost as many women deserving of execution as men. the reluctance on the part of juries and judges is a throwback to when women were considered the gentle and "fairer sex".
story from TIME magazine:
After midnight on Oct. 30, 2002, two men crept into an unlocked trailer in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. A family of three was sleeping. Toting shotguns, the intruders roused Teresa Lewis, now 40, and told her to leave the bedroom she shared with her husband Julian. One of the men shot Julian several times. The other intruder stalked down the hall and put five bullets into Julian's son, C.J., a U.S. Army reservist. The intruders divvied up the cash in Julian's wallet and fled the trailer. About 45 minutes later !!!, Teresa Lewis called the police to report that her husband and stepson had been killed. But when the police arrived, Julian Lewis was still alive. Among his last words was an ominous accusation: "My wife knows who done this to me."
She did. As detailed in court documents, Teresa Lewis had paid the shooters — Matthew Shallenberger, 22, and Rodney Fuller, 19 — to kill her husband and stepson. Some murders are spurred by sex and others by money; in this one it was both. After meeting the pair at a local Walmart, Lewis started an affair with Shallenberger. In return for killing Julian and C.J. Lewis, Teresa promised to split her stepson's $250,000 life-insurance policy with the two men, and she fronted $1,200 in cash to buy the guns and ammunition with which her family would be executed. In May 2003, after waiving her right to a trial, Lewis pleaded guilty to seven offenses, including two counts of murder for hire. A judge, deeming Lewis the crime's mastermind — "the head of this serpent," as he put it — sentenced her to death by lethal injection. The triggermen, who also pleaded guilty, were given life sentences.
Barring the U.S. Supreme Court's intervention or a decision by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to grant clemency, on Sept. 23 Lewis will become the first woman executed by the commonwealth in 98 years, and just the 12th overall since the U.S. reinstated the death penalty in 1976. No one disputes her guilt, or the heinousness of her crime. Whether she should be put to death for it is a murkier matter.
Lewis' lawyers have offered several reasons for why her sentence should be lightened, including tests that show Lewis is on the cusp of mental retardation. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that executing mentally retarded prisoners violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. she is NOT retarded or too stupid to execute as her lawyer claims. But Virginia does not consider prisoners mentally handicapped unless they score significantly below the mean on an IQ test and struggle to function in society. Lewis — who scored as low as 70 — hasn't qualified in the eyes of appeals courts. In addition to her poor cognitive abilities, says Lewis' current lawyer Jim Rocap, she was addled by an addiction to prescription painkillers at the time of the killings, a condition that Rocap says contributed to her apparent lack of remorse. (According to the court documents, she began inquiring about redeeming her husband's paycheck and stepson's life-insurance policy, for example, just hours after the murders.)
Some medical experts also determined that Lewis suffered from a dependent-personality disorder, which left her particularly susceptible to manipulation by men. Rocap, who has represented Lewis since 2004, argues that Lewis was exploited by Shallenberger, who tested as considerably more intelligent and penned a 2003 letter to an associate stating that he had struck up an affair with Lewis to "get her to 'fall in love' with me so she would give me the insurance money." (Shallenberger committed suicide in 2006.) "Nobody who has personal knowledge of their relationship disputes that he was the leader, the person controlling Teresa," Rocap says. But Lewis' trial lawyers declined to address this point during the sentencing phase of the case, and appellate law limits the type of evidence that can be introduced during habeas hearings.
In deciding whether to grant clemency, Governor McDonnell can consider a range of mitigating circumstances, including the Shallenberger letter and Lewis' behavior during the seven years she has lived in an isolated, 6-by-8-ft. cell at a Fluvanna County correctional facility. During her imprisonment, Lewis' faith has deepened surprise surprise, she done found God! . She ministers to other prisoners and has "provided some measure of peace" to troubled inmates, says the Rev. Lynn Litchfield, Lewis' prison chaplain until April 2009. "I really believe Teresa can be a positive influence inside," Litchfield says. Governor McDonnell will issue a clemency ruling by Sept. 18, in keeping with his policy of ruling on clemency petitions at least five days before the date of a scheduled execution, says his spokesman, Tucker Martin.
Rocap describes his client as anxious and apprehensive as the days tick away. "She wants to live. She's not resigned to dying," he says. "She thinks she has a lot to offer and she wants to do anything she can to make people realize she's much more than the person that was depicted on the worst day of her life." In testimony written by Lewis and read by a fellow inmate at services held in late August, the condemned was remorseful. "I've done so many things wrong. I took two people's lives that I loved very much and I hurt so many more that I loved as well!" she writes, later adding, "I don't want to die this way, or actually die at all! ... I will fight to the end, and in the end, no matter what, I'm gonna win either way."
I have no compassion for her or people like her. I think they all should be wiped of the map. I don't care how sorry any of these people are, I don't care about anything in regards to them. Just kill them & get it over with. I don't believe in giving second chances, I don't give a fuck who you are. Put her to death & move on.
Teresa Lewis' husband, Julian, lay on the bedroom floor, bleeding and gasping while she stood in the kitchen of their Pittsylvania County mobile home, pulling money from his wallet and handing it to Matthew Shallenberger, the man who had just committed the murder with a shotgun she paid for.
Her stepson Charles was already dead, killed by another man, Rodney Fuller, with another shotgun bought with Lewis' money.
Shallenberger handed some of the money from the wallet to Fuller. Shallenberger told Teresa Lewis he was sorry she had to go through this. He hugged her. He kissed her. Then he left.
Nearly an hour later, Lewis dialed 911 to report that her husband and stepson had been killed by an intruder. When sheriff's deputies arrived more than 20 minutes later, they found Julian Lewis was still alive.
"My wife knows who done this to me," he said before dying.
That was the day before Halloween, 2002.
Julian Lewis' first wife died after a long illness in January 2000. Three or four months later, he met Teresa Bean. They both worked for Dan River Inc. In June that year, Bean moved in with Lewis. They married.
Lewis' oldest son, Jason, died in a car wreck the next year. Lewis, the beneficiary of his son's life insurance policy, got $200,000. Lewis' other son, an Army reservist, made his father the beneficiary of his $250,000 life insurance policy.
Soon after Charles Lewis took out that policy, Teresa Lewis met Fuller and Shallenberger. They hatched a plan to kill her husband and her stepson and split the money.
Lewis took her 16-year-old daughter to meet the men in a Danville parking lot. Lewis had sex with Shallenberger in one car while her daughter had sex with Fuller in another, according to the court documents. Later, Fuller and Shallenberger came to the trailer Lewis shared with her husband, where she performed what court papers describe as a "lingerie show" before having sex with both men.
One week before the murders, she gave the men $1,200 to buy guns and ammunition.
yesterday VA gov. denied commutation of her execution set for Thurs. unless US Supremes step in, she gets it.
here is a very good report (video) from CNN, you can hear her speak before Gov.'s decision, and finally a photo of the killer boyfriend who hung himself. i couldn't find one before.
click: LEWIS EXECUTION
edit to add: The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a stay of execution appeal from Teresa Lewis, scheduled to be the first woman executed in the United States in five years.
uh, no...you can't kill yourself when we're going to do it for you.
Execution Delayed After Suicide Attempt
Posted: 6:10 am EDT September 22, 2010
ATLANTA -- The Georgia Supreme Court delayed the execution Tuesday of a man convicted of three 1998 slayings who attempted to commit suicide hours before he was put to death.
The court's order postponed the execution of Brandon Joseph Rhode, 31, so his attorneys have a chance to consult with their client and file a new mental competency challenge. Georgia corrections officials have rescheduled the execution for Friday at 9 a.m.
Rhode's attorney Brian Kammer filed an emergency motion arguing that the attempted suicide proves Rhode was "incompetent" and that executing him violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
"He's utterly terrified and just hopeless," said Kammer, who said his client tried to slit his wrists and his throat. "He was very morose, frightened and subdued. This was a product of him just being in terror, of losing hope altogether."
Rhode was convicted in 2000 of the killings of Steven Moss, 37, his 11-year-old son Bryan and 15-year-old daughter Kristin during a burglary of their Jones County home. His co-conspirator, Daniel Lucas, was also sentenced to death in a separate trial and is on death row.
Rhode and Lucas were ransacking the home in search of valuables in April 1998 when Bryan Moss saw them through a front window, and entered through a back door with a baseball bat, prosecutors said. They say the two then wrestled Bryan to a chair and Lucas shot him in the shoulder.
When the two men heard Kristin approaching the house, Rhode forced her to a chair and shot her twice with a pistol, according to court records. Rhode ambushed Steven Moss when he arrived home, shooting him. Lucas later shot each of the victims again to make sure they were dead, according to the records.
At the February 2000 trial, Rhode's roommate Chad Jackson said the two men told him the next day that they had both shot the victims. And Danny Ray Bell, a friend of Rhode's, told police that Rhode told him he had "messed up big time" and shot a girl and a man and needed to quickly get rid of some weapons.
Rhode also told investigators he admitted firing at Kristin with the pistol, and he led officers to two locations where he and Lucas had dumped two pistols. Experts matched them to bullets retrieved at the crime scene and the victims' bodies.
During the sentencing phase, Rhode's defense attorneys argued that Lucas killed the three victims while Rhode "turned his head and closed his eyes" to fire only one shot that may not have struck Kristin. He also testified it was Lucas' idea to rob the Moss home and that he remembered "freezing up" when the shooting started.
Kammer has argued in appeals that his client should be granted clemency because doctors have now discovered he suffers from organic brain damage and a fetal alcohol disorder.
"What that means is he's someone for whom it is extra difficult to cope with the stress of a crisis like this," said Kammer. "He's not someone who is firing on all cylinders, and this is the result."
Suicide attempts on death row, while rare, do happen. Ohio inmate Lawrence Reynolds overdosed on an antidepressant in March hours before he was to be transferred to the state's death chamber. He recovered in a hospital and was executed a week later.
And Texas executed David Long in December 1999 after overdosing on prescribed antidepressants authorities believe he hoarded in his death row cell. Long's attorneys sought to postpone the execution, but a judge refused a reprieve, saying that because Long previously was judged competent to be executed, there was a presumption of competency.
If the execution is to move forward, a mental health evaluation of Rhode could be key. A 1986 Supreme Court ruling held that states cannot execute anyone deemed mentally insane, and a suicide attempt may prompt a new assessment, said Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center.
"It's a fair thing for everyone to assess where this person's mental state is," he said. "And two days isn't that long to wait given what's at stake here."
Kammer said he'll ask physicians to inspect his client's physical condition as well.
"There's a real potential question as to whether the blood loss and medication they used to stabilize him are going to complicate the lethal injection protocols," he said.
The appeals process has run out for convicted murderer Teresa Lewis. On Thursday night, she will be the first woman executed in Virginia in nearly a century.
Kathy Clifton lost her father and brother after Lewis hired two men to kill them for a life insurance policy. Clifton says she plans to be there to watch Lewis die by lethal injection. She says Lewis committed the crimes and now she will have to pay for it.
"The whole time I'm there I will be thinking of them, and I will actually pray that the Lord has mercy on Teresa, even though she has shown none," Clifton said.
There's no chance of a last minute pardon for Lewis. Not only did the U.S. Supreme Court refuse to block her execution Tuesday, Governor Bob McDonnell has denied clemency twice. He says he's sticking to his decision.
"It was an absolutely heinous crime. She was convicted two counts of murder for hire in a brutal set of facts to kill her husband and stepson, and I just didn't see anything that would justify me setting aside the courts verdict," McDonnell said.
Lewis has decided on a final meal of two chicken breasts, sweet peas, a Dr. Pepper and either German cake or apple pie.
She is allowed one visit with immediate family. Spiritual advisors can stay with her up until the execution.
It's set for 9:00 p.m. Thursday at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt.
See this is why I hate crystal balls. When you look and see your death and what time it takes place it HAS to be a red room moment. If you knew what time and what date you would die would you not hope that what was on the other side if there was one was better than this life. Would you cry, for the wasted life your Mother and Father created? And wonder why you were here on Earth. Or would you think that every thing you did no matter how good or bad it was was just fate and the way the cards were dealt. Would you be bitter for not getting the chance that others got or would you be OK with the way things turned out because of your actions. It will go on forever these thoughts till I die.
Happy New Years
in honor of tonight's festivities, here are the ladies who preceded teresa lewis in recent history:
The following women have been executed in the United States since 1976, when capital punishment was reinstated~~
Margie Velma Barfield, by injection on Nov. 2, 1984 in North Carolina. Barfield confessed in court to poisoning four people, including her mother. She was convicted in 1978 of using ant and roach poison to kill her fiance, a tobacco farmer.
Karla Faye Tucker, by injection on Feb. 3, 1998 in Texas. Tucker and a friend killed a man and woman in 1983. Tucker used a pickax.
Judy Buenoano, in the electric chair March 30, 1998 in Florida. She was executed for the arsenic poisoning of her husband in 1971, but also drowned her paralyzed son.
Betty Lou Beets, by injection on Feb. 24, 2000 in Texas for fatally shooting her fifth husband. Beets also was convicted of shooting and wounding her second husband and was charged, but never tried, in the shooting death of her fourth husband.
Christina Riggs, by injection on May 2, 2000 in Arkansas for suffocating her two children.
Wanda Jean Allen, by injection on Jan. 11, 2001 in Oklahoma. She was condemned for killing her lesbian lover. She also served two years for fatally shooting a childhood friend.
Marilyn Plantz, by injection on May 1, 2001 in Oklahoma. She was convicted of hiring two men to beat and burn her husband.
Lois Nadean Smith, by injection Dec. 4, 2001 in Oklahoma. Smith killed her son’s ex-girlfriend.
Lynda Lyon Block, in the electric chair on May 10,2002 in Alabama for the 1993 murder of a policeman.
Aileen Wuornos, by injection Oct. 9, 2002 in Florida. Wuornos was a prostitute who killed six men.
Frances Newton, by injection Sept. 14, 2005 in Texas for the fatal shootings of her husband and two children.
Brandon Rhode was brought from “the brink of death” only so the state could execute him a few days later and that violates the constitutional protection from cruel punishment, his attorney argued in court papers filed in an attempt to stop the lethal injection set for Friday evening.
Attorney Brian Kammer wrote in a filing in the court in Butts County, where death row is located, that there were “ironic circumstances” around the days leading up to Rhode’s execution for a 1998 triple murder in Jones County.
Also Thursday, a federal judge denied a request for a stay of execution so an investigation can be carried out to find out how Rhode got razor blades and used them to try to commit suicide hours before his scheduled execution on Tuesday.
Rhode tried to kill himself by slitting the side of his neck and both arms. By the time he was discovered, Rhode was unconscious and had lost half the blood in his body; he was revived at the hospital in nearby Griffin.
His self-inflicted wounds were sutured and he was returned to the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, where he has been kept restrained since the suicide attempt.
His lawyer says the suicide attempt is evidence Rhode is not competent to be executed. The courts have said an execution cannot be carried out if the condemned does not understand the punishment and the reason for it.
Rhode and a co-defendant were sentenced to die a decade ago for killing 37-year-old Steven Moss, and his 11-year-old son, Bryan, and 15-year-old daughter, Kristin. Rhode and Daniel Lucas, also on death row, were ransacking the Moss home when Bryan came home and confronted the two men armed with a baseball bat.
They shot the boy. They killed his sister when she came home moments later. Steven Moss was their third victim.
Rhode's execution was to have been at 7 p.m. Tuesday but it was delayed after the suicide attempt. It was reset for Friday at 9 a.m., but on Thursday the Department of Corrections commissioner put back the time to 7 p.m. to allow more time for the courts to resolve multiple challenges pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and in the state court.
In various filings, Rhode’s attorneys say he should not be executed because the 31-year-old man suffered fetal alcohol syndrome and had poor impulse control, that he is not competent because of the suicide attempt or that the execution should be delayed until prison officials address concerns that staff are not following rules that protect condemned inmates.
Late Thursday, U.S. District Judge Bill Duffey rejected Rhode’s request for a stay, but he ordered the Department of Corrections to make sure Rhode is no longer a danger to himself. The DOC's existing protections did not prevent him from seriously injuring himself, the judge noted. Rhode’s lawyers say a guard gave him a razor and that is what he used to cut himself.disposable razors are given so inmates can shave under supervision and are examined when collected. that is routine and normal.
Rhode had concealed the razor blade he used to cut his neck and arms while lying under a blanket, said Joe Drolet, a lawyer for the state attorney general's office. He was being observed by guards, but they could not see what was happening under the blanket and took action when they saw blood.
"There's not a pattern of recklessly handing out razors to suicidal death row inmates," he said.
A competency hearing that lasted almost 11 hours over two days ended Thursday night in a courtroom at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison.
Before the hearing resumed Thursday afternoon at the prison near Jackson, 50 miles south of Atlanta, Rhode's lawyer filed papers in court contending that Rhode has been subjected to inhumane treatment since his suicide attempt. Kammer wrote Rhode was given no medication for his physical pain or “mental anguish.”that's correct...no mind-altering or narcotic drugs.
He also wrote that once Rhode was returned to prison, he was “dressed in a filthy, old, frayed jumpsuit with blood stains on it” and strapped into a “torture chair.” that would be a restraint chair used to prevent someone out of control from hurting themselves or others.
“The stress and barbarity of his present situation, coupled with his longstanding depression and mental illness, has resulted in Brandon Rhode now experiencing dissociative episodes as his mind tries unsuccessfully to cope with his current physical condition.”