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'Mentally retarded' woman to be executed in US

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'Mentally retarded' woman to be executed in US


A woman with learning difficulties is set to become the first female to be executed by the US state of Virginia in nearly a century.

Teresa Lewis has been on death row for eight years after being found guilty of hiring hitmen to kill her husband and stepson.

Lewis has an IQ of 72. The average is 100.

Pleas for clemency on mental health grounds have been rejected so she will die by lethal injection on Friday.

“She’s not mentally retarded, but she is very, very close to it,” said her lawyer Jim Rocap.

The Supreme Court rejected calls for a stay of execution.

Lewis will only be spared if Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell changes his decision not to intervene.

David Grimes, the Commonwealth’s Attorney (prosecutor) for Pittsylvania County said Lewis was “certainly smart enough to be held accountable for her terribly vile actions.”

Lewis admitted organising the slaying of her husband Julian and his son Charles to claim their life insurance premiums.

The two gunmen, Rodney Fuller and Matthew Shallenberger, received life sentences.

But Shallenberger later claimed he masterminded the whole thing and that he duped Lewis into confessing. He killed himself in jail four years ago.

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