Thursday, September 9, 2010

Teresa Lewis Is Scheduled to Executed September 25th

Teresa Lewis of Pittsylvania County is schedule to be put to death September 23rd for plotting to have her husband and stepson killed in 2002 so she could collect a $250,000 life insurance policy.

On October 23, 2002, the defendant met Shallenberger and Fuller at a shopping center in Danville.   The defendant went to a bank and obtained $1,200 in cash that she gave to the men to use to purchase firearms and ammunition to kill Julian Lewis.   Antwain D. Bennett, an acquaintance of Shallenberger, used the money to purchase three firearms.   Two of the firearms were shotguns.   Additionally, Bennett purchased ammunition for the weapons.

On that same date, the Teresa told Shallenberger and Fuller the route that Julian Lewis traveled from his place of employment to his home.   The men planned to kill Julian Lewis and “make the murder ․ look like a robbery.”   While the defendant remained at her home, the men were “to follow and stop Julian Lewis on the highway and kill him.”   The plan, however, was unsuccessful.

Consequently, Lewis, Shallenberger, and Fuller decided to kill Julian Lewis at his home on October 30, 2002.   They also decided to kill his son, Charles Lewis, when he returned to Virginia to attend his father's funeral and share the proceeds from Charles Lewis' policy of life insurance.   However, when the conspirators learned that Charles Lewis would be with his father at the mobile home on October 30, 2002, they decided to kill him and his father simultaneously.

Fuller entered a room that was occupied by Charles Lewis.   Fuller shot Charles Lewis three times.   Then Fuller went to the kitchen where he observed the defendant and Shallenberger “pulling money from a wallet.”   Fuller told the defendant and Shallenberger that Charles Lewis “wouldn't die.”   Fuller got Shallenberger's shotgun and returned to the bedroom occupied by Charles Lewis where Fuller shot him two more times.   The men retrieved most of the shotgun shells, and they divided $300 in cash that had been taken from Julian Lewis' wallet.

After shooting the victims, Shallenberger told the defendant that he was sorry she “had to go through something like this;  hugged her and kissed her;  and the men left.”   The defendant waited about 45 minutes after the “last shot was fired,” and she made a telephone call to her former mother-in-law, Marie Bean. Next, she made a telephone call to her best friend, Debbie Yeatts

On Wednesday morning, October 30, 2002, approximately 3:55 a.m., the defendant placed a telephone call to emergency response personnel in Pittsylvania County.   She reported that an intruder had entered her home and shot her husband and his adult son.   She stated that both men were dead.   She said that she had been in the bed with her husband when an intruder armed with a pistol entered her bedroom and said, “Get up.”   Her husband told her to go into the bathroom, and her husband asked the intruder, “What's going on?”   The defendant said that her husband was shot four or five times while she was in the bathroom.   She reported that the shooting had occurred at 3:15 or 3:30 a.m.

Sheriff deputies Harris Silverman and Corey Webb arrived at the murder scene at approximately 4:18 a.m., 23 minutes after Teresa made the telephone call to the emergency response personnel.   The deputies met Teresa at the front door of her home, and she stated that her husband's body was on the floor in one bedroom and that her stepson's body was in another bedroom.   When Deputy Webb entered the master bedroom, he learned that Julian Lewis was alive.   Julian Lewis “made slow moans” and uttered, “[B]aby, baby, baby, baby.”   Deputy Webb asked the victim his name, and he responded, “Julian.”   Deputy Webb asked Julian Lewis if he knew who had shot him, and the victim responded, “My wife knows who done this to me.”

Teresa Lewis has an IQ of 72, close to the level of intellectual disability that would exempt her from the death penalty. She has been diagnosed with a dependent personality disorder that meant she looked to others for help and direction, and she was addicted to prescription drugs at the time of the crime.

Lewis pleaded guilty to capital murder, allowing a judge to determine her sentence. Her attorneys believed she stood a better chance of getting a life prison term from the judge who had never sentenced anyone to death, than from a jury.

Will Teresa be executed on September 23? I am not certain but I believe there will be a delay to hear her appeal.

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