Sunday 22 April 2018

US woman says sorry before her execution by injection

Nick Allen in Los Angeles

A grandmother sentenced to death for the murder of her husband and stepson apologised to her stepdaughter before she was executed.

Teresa Lewis (41), who died by lethal injection on Thursday, was the first woman to be executed in the US since 2005, and the first in the state of Virginia for 98 years.

Lewis had an IQ of 72 and her supporters claimed she had diminished mental faculties but she was considered fit for trial.

Minutes before her execution, Lewis asked if her late husband's daughter was present. She said: "I want Kathy to know that I love her and I'm very sorry." Her stepdaughter was in a room behind a two-way mirror.

Larry Lewis, a prison spokesman, said the killer died at 9.13pm local time.

She pleaded guilty to getting two men to shoot dead her husband and stepson so she could cash in a $250,000 (€185,000) life insurance policy. The two gunmen also pleaded guilty and were jailed for life.

Witnesses said Lewis looked fearful as she was led to the death chamber at Greensville Correctional Facility.



Protesters

Her jaw was clenched and she glanced tensely at the 14 officials present before being bound to a gurney with leather straps.

Outside the prison, a group of 30 protesters rang a bell and prayed. The Supreme Court turned down her final appeal on Tuesday and Lewis's last hope rested with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, but he did not intervene.

Before her death she ate two breasts of fried chicken, sweet peas with butter, chocolate cake, apple pie and Dr Pepper soda. She was visited by family members including her son, Billy Bean (20).

Her lawyer, James Rocap, said she had a "remarkable, spiritual peace about her".

He said: "Teresa Lewis is a poster child for why the death penalty process is broken." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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