crimesider

Teresa Lewis Scheduled to be First U.S. Woman Executed Since 2005

Teresa Lewis (AP Photo)

RICHMOND, Va. (CBS/AP) Teresa Lewis, a Virginia woman who used sex and money to persuade two men to kill her husband and her stepson to collect a $250,000 life insurance policy, has been scheduled to be executed in two months. She would be the first U.S. woman to be put to death in five years.

On Thursday, a judge set a Sept. 23 execution date for Lewis, the only woman on Virginia's death row.

Lewis offered herself and her 16-year-old daughter for sex to two men who committed the killings. She provided money to buy the murder weapons and stood by while they shot her husband, Julian Clifton Lewis Jr., 51, and stepson Charles J. Lewis, 25, in 2002 in Pittsylvania County in south-central Virginia.

Lewis rummaged through her husband's pockets for money while he lay dying and waited nearly an hour before calling 911.

The gunmen, Rodney Fuller and Matthew Shallenberger, were sentenced to life in prison. Shallenberger committed suicide in prison in 2006.

Lewis' daughter, Christie Lynn Bean, served five years because she knew about the plan but remained silent.

Lewis' attorney, James Rocap III, claims Shallenberger said about two years before his suicide that it was he, not Lewis, who planned the killings and that he was using Lewis to get to her husband's money.

"The truth about her involvement in the tragic deaths of Julian and C.J. Lewis does not require or justify her execution, especially in light of the fact that the lives of those who actually gunned down Julian and C.J. were spared," Rocap said.

Lewis would be the first woman executed in the U.S. since Frances Newton died by injection in Texas. Newton shot her husband and two young children to death to collect insurance money.

Lewis would also be the first woman executed in Virginia since 1912, when 17-year-old Virginia Christian died in the electric chair for suffocating her employer.

Women commit about 12 percent of the murders in the U.S. annually, and few ever reach the execution chamber.

Out of more than 1,200 executions since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, only 11 women have been executed. Of the more than 3,200 inmates on death row nationwide, 53 are women.

  • Edecio Martinez

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