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Teresa Lewis: A crime worthy of capital punishment?

Teresa Lewis, found guilty in the deaths of her husband and stepson, is set to be executed on Sept. 23. She would be the first woman executed in Virginia in nearly 100 years.

To some, Teresa Lewis is a cold and manipulative mastermind who conspired to have her husband and stepson shot so she could use the insurance money to take up with another man. Others see her as a simple - even childlike - woman with the mental capacity of a 13-year-old who was drawn into a terrible crime by a scheming lover.

By Jodi Westrick  |  September 14, 2010; 7:18 AM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Why even waste money on a court system when we could make decisions like this?

Posted by: dcc1968 | September 14, 2010 8:05 AM

I am against the death penalty in principle, but if I were for it, she would definitely be a candidate for extermination. She is EVIL. She can't hide behind her marginal IQ. People with low IQ's are capable of making moral decision. Her problem isn't her IQ, it's her psychopathy which is just a medical term for evil.

Posted by: Afraid4USA | September 14, 2010 8:18 AM

"Mental capacity of a 13 year old?" If my three children committed the crime of murder against other children when they were 13 years old, they wouldn't have lived long enough to be jailed.

Those who are 'against' all death penalties can just pay the costs of the rest of their lives in jail. I refuse to.

Posted by: dave19 | September 14, 2010 9:53 AM

I'm not familiar with the case. Does she only suffer from slow/inhibited mental capacity growth or also from mental illness? I don't believe that the mentally ill should face the death penalty. In fact what is the point of the death penalty? I've heard for years that it is a deterrent to crime - that is BS. It doesn't deter any one from committing major "death penalty" crimes since the appeals process can often turn into a life sentence. Sure the jails are full - but executing a few individuals won't change that. We need to seriously look at who is in jail and why - maybe even bring some common sense to the very diverse state and local court sentencing mess.

Posted by: ken40 | September 14, 2010 10:03 AM

Posted by: dave19 | September 14, 2010 9:53 AM

"Those who are 'against' all death penalties can just pay the costs of the rest of their lives in jail. I refuse to."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Truth is it cost more to do all the extra appeals for a death penalty case than it does to house a person for life.

It is cheaper not to use the death penalty, I am against it based solely on cost, let these chumps rot with no TV.

Posted by: flonzy1 | September 14, 2010 10:03 AM

I am not against the death penalty in principle, only the arbitrarily way it is meted out. If Washington DC's Starbuck killer, Carl Derek Cooper, can get life without parole after brutally murdering 3 young employees, standng over them after they're down and pumping multiple bullets into their heads, then it is hard to justify this or any other execution.

Posted by: badscorpio | September 14, 2010 10:12 AM

I am a Liberal who thinks they don't use the death penalty ENOUGH. I would even go as far as to say if the police VIEW a person (as in these office shooting kind of situations) they should shoot-to-kill. I also don't believe in 'innocent' by reason of insanity, I believe in GUILTY by reason of insanity. If a person is crazy enough to kill someone they should be taken out themselves, simple as that. We have, by far, enough decent people who need the resources otherwise spend on these people.

And all of the fuss over the methods. A double barrel shotgun to the back of the head will end things quite quickly. I doubt very much that they would 'feel' anything.

Enough is enough.

Posted by: jimjohnd | September 14, 2010 10:12 AM

I am with "badscorpio" and a few others. It IS more expensive to have the death penalty at all due to the automatic appeals that are paid for by the taxpayers. It is cheaper to simply lock someone up for life w/o parole.

Additionally, I, also, do not agree at all with the way that the death sentence is dealt out. It is bizarre to me that the judge thought it "not fair" to give the male perp death when the other perp got life, but then thought it okay to give this woman death. Why wouldn't the same reasoning apply given the fact that it is impossible to know with absolute certainty WHO was the mastermind of this crime -- I wouldn't think it to be the one with such a low IQ.

I do NOT feel sorrier for her because she is a woman or function under any sort of greater sympathy for women as the article seems to promote. I am against the death penalty for "almost" all cases due to the cost AND the unfair application in so many cases AND the fact that in MANY cases it is hard to know for SURE if the court was completely right -- and death is NOT reversible if someone discovers later that the courts made a mistake. It is very hard for ME to be against the death penalty in ALL cases since there are those very few cases in which the crime is just so heinous and the evidence is just so absolute that the fear of that person EVER ESCAPING from prison is horrendous and the idea of death alleviates that fear that no jail is completely escape-proof. But, those are seriously few in the entire scheme of crime in the world.

In this case, it is not because she is a woman, but because there is a POSSIBILITY that due to her lower IQ she was NOT the "mastermind" and was merely USED by the "lover." And, that POSSIBILITY alone should give us all pause when we are thinking of putting her to death possibly ONLY because she didn't have the mental capacity to resist someone she was obsessively emotionally dependent on at the time.... especially given the fact that the person who was potentially the real mastermind was NOT given the death penalty.

Like the Judge said for the other man, "it's just fair."

Posted by: barbaraebj | September 14, 2010 10:35 AM

A society only begins to become civilized when it outlaws the death penalty, and, as long as this country continues to execute its citizens, it will remain a second-rate society little better than some third world countries. The fact is, the US is almost alone among the democratic countries in this world that still has the death penalty. Whatever the crimes of this woman, she should not be executed, nor should anyone be. As far as I am concerned, this poll exists only to point out those of us with higher character and morality. The facts are simple. Those who oppose the death penalty are of superior character and morality than those that do not. End of discussion....

Posted by: nyrunner101 | September 14, 2010 10:52 AM

Death penalty opponents have never delivered one reasonable punishment other than the death penalty. Prison is such a reasonable punishment that it is filled with those returning again and again. There are some that are institutionalized and can not handle the world. As for this case she made a conscience decision about two she at one time claimed to have loved. She was able to legally get married and that took a decision by her. Her death should be celebrated by all those demanding equality, due process and equal justice.

Posted by: phjesuswarrior7 | September 14, 2010 1:56 PM

Perhaps we can ship the criminals to Mexico like the Mexicans are doing to us, or maybe to Australia. Illegal Mexican's kill 5000 americans a years and the government doesn't even deport these fools. I like the idea of shipping murders some where far away from normal law abiding citizens. I don't want to pay for them. I already pay thousands of dollars in taxes every month that the government just throws away in entitlement programs for lazy self centered losers to collect. Most of them are the criminals. Idleness is the devils workshop

Posted by: mcsejones | September 14, 2010 2:19 PM

What is wrong with a punishment that fits the crime? Death after all is not the harshest punishment that can be given a person. I am sure that a number of prisoners that are and have been kept in out Cuban concentration camp would prefer that they had been killed.

Posted by: OldCoot1 | September 17, 2010 9:33 PM

It's murder. By proponents logic, if a governor is presented with evidence that a mistake has been made, executes a person, and they are later found to have been innocent, then the governor is guilty of murder and should themselves be executed.

Do we punish the guilty when they are hiding under the color of law though? Never, instead we're all supposed to just go "oops, too bad" and move on to the next person to kill.

This is not rational. Never mind that it's a huge waste of money and does not deter anything. Vengeful murder is not justice.

Posted by: Nymous | September 18, 2010 1:47 AM

I'd like to see a poll to find if anyone really thinks that the governor would really consider clemency for anyone. I don't think he would, no matter who they were, or what they did, or how badly done their defense was, or what mistakes were made.

In short, I think his "clemency considerations" are a completely empty gesture that will always have a foregone conclusion of him turning it down.

Posted by: Nymous | September 18, 2010 2:39 AM

ive never met an evil mentally disabled person. if anything it makes her more guilty. plus who in their right mind would ever sentence someone with that condition to death

Posted by: batigol85 | September 18, 2010 4:39 AM

Punishments are about two parties. They speak to the crime of the guilty party and they speak to the society that delivers the punishments.

The vast majority of the industrialized countries have opted out of the death penalty for two reasons. Neither of which has to do with the guilty party.

They opt out because

1] In spite of best efforts the judicial system can and does make errors and the death penalty is so permanent it does not allow for any correction of any errors that might occur.

OR

2] We [society] don't kill because we can. We kill when it becomes necessary. Either to protect ourselves or protect others. The death penalty is never necessary.

So the question about whether she deserves the death penalty is irrelevant. It's not about who she is, it's about who we are.

Posted by: James10 | September 18, 2010 8:20 AM

This lady should see herself as lucky. She'll go to the afterlife instead of spending many years in prison.

How about the death penalty for corrupt federal officials.

Posted by: RobertCurleyJacobs | September 18, 2010 8:32 AM

I believe that, through her actions, this women abrogated her right to live in our society and should pay the same price she exacted from her victims.

Why do we insist on focusing our sympathies on the criminals?

Posted by: keeladog | September 18, 2010 8:49 AM

"Those who are 'against' all death penalties can just pay the costs of the rest of their lives in jail. I refuse to."

Ok, well I'm against Social Security and Medicare- so you can pay for that. I also don't like nuclear weapons or space stations- you can pay for those too. Paved roads are another societal perk I believe are unnecessary, please do pick up that bill also.

Picking and choosing what your taxes pay for based upon your own personal beliefs is not how it works.

Posted by: divi3 | September 18, 2010 9:19 AM

T'was wondered:
"Why do we insist on focusing our sympathies on the criminals?"

They are the only one left alive....the victim is beyond help.

So loser liberals flock to the pathetic criminal and use that piece of trash as a way of making a social comment.

Posted by: georgedixon1 | September 18, 2010 9:22 AM

What she did was truly evil but we should not be executing people who are essentially mentally retarded. It's the equivalent of putting a child to death.

Posted by: Bob22003 | September 18, 2010 9:24 AM

Ms. Lewis made the decision that her husband and stepson where to die. The State of Virginia has decided that she should be executed for her part in this crime. Justice is done. The Washington Post's choice of this particular murder to further it's position against the death penalty was a poor one. There is little sympathy for Ms. Lewis. The Post should stick to reporting the news, and not trying to use it as a way to further it's agenda.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 18, 2010 9:30 AM

If this woman is competent enough to plan and execute the murders of her husband and son then she is competent enough to receive the death penalty.

Posted by: MikeJ9116 | September 18, 2010 10:17 AM

This is really very simple. Deliberately
taking a human life for any reason other
than direct self defense is murder, period.
It makes no difference whether you might be
wearing some government issued costume,
it's murder.. The law has but one purpose,
to maintain a civil society. To do that
the law must be one thing only, reason
without passion. Murder is the ultimate
passionate act e.g. the death penalty
cannot under any circumstances be a valid
action under the law. It is revenge, it is
spite but it is not law.....

Posted by: Fred542 | September 18, 2010 11:17 AM

I am a conservative. Jimjohnd, one of the commenters above, is my liberal hero.

When will we hear one of these heartless murderers, man or woman, say, "I am afraid to die, but I don't ask to be spared. I am guilty and my punishment is just"?

Posted by: Roytex | September 18, 2010 11:22 AM

The death penalty should never be imposed when one killer is able to bargain for his life at the expense of co-defendants.

Posted by: AlaninMissoula | September 18, 2010 12:11 PM

If she was a man would we even be having this debate?

Posted by: moebius22 | September 18, 2010 12:33 PM

THUMBS DOWN!! She ruined many lives. Let her head out for either the elevator up or the trap door down. Whichever her Creator decides is appropriate.

Posted by: pd2710 | September 18, 2010 12:37 PM

In general, I'm against the death penalty because a parade of evidence has shown us that a substantial number of the convicted aren't guilty and the death sentence can't be undone.

That doesn't apply in this case. Defendant's guilt is undisputed. Is it unfair that the other two didn't get death along with her? Probably. But so what?

Her sentence isn't about how other murderers are punished, it's about how this particular murderer should be punished. We only have to decide whether a wife who arranges to have her husband and son murdered, one whose guilt is undisputed, should ever again have access to society. If the answer is no, death penalty.

Posted by: Bill64738 | September 18, 2010 12:38 PM

What is it about cases like this that brings out the sadistic pro capital punishment crowd to come swarming out like a Biblical sized hoard of cockroaches? Many of the posts on this board show them to be not much better than the condemned. And they probably call themselves Christians.

Posted by: heuristic77 | September 18, 2010 2:32 PM

Only a scum bag politician like McDonnell would show off his conservative, tough-on-crime credentials by executing a 41 year old mentally retarded grandmother. How dare we in this country criticize the human rights violations in countries like Iran, China, and North Korea, who also practice capital punishment.

Posted by: heuristic77 | September 18, 2010 2:41 PM

funny how nobody talks about china...
they execute drug dealers and harvest their organs...
and yet we are the bad guys...
imagine that...

Posted by: DwightCollins | September 18, 2010 3:57 PM

funny how nobody talks about china...
they execute drug dealers and harvest their organs...
and yet we are the bad guys...
imagine that...

Posted by: DwightCollins | September 18, 2010 3:57 PM

Since when are countries like China (or Saudi or Pakistan) the measuring stick by which Americans should judge themselves? I always thought we were better than that.

Posted by: divi3 | September 18, 2010 5:19 PM

She's no more guilty than than other people who took part in the crime, but she's the only one getting the death sentence.

Most Americans don't care about any of that "fairness" stuff though. They want their vengeful fun, and executions give it to them. That's about as far as they want to think.

Posted by: bigbrother1 | September 18, 2010 6:35 PM

Would it change your mind if you knew that the killers got life in prison, but Teresa Lewis got the death penalty? Because those are the facts in this case.

Posted by: queen522 | September 18, 2010 7:59 PM

It might be worth thinking about incarceration rates in various countries.

The US imprisons people at seven times the rate (per 100,000) that Germany does and 24 times the rate at which India does. It might interest people to know that the US also imprisons people at a rate three times as high as that of Iran, yes Iran.

http://www.allcountries.org/ranks/prison_incarceration_rates_of_countries_2007.html

These too are lives wasted and presumably they are lives of people who are not nearly as culpable as Teresa Lewis.

Of course most people in prison in the US are male. We don't care much about male lives, which is why so much fuss is being made about Teresa.

Posted by: rjpal | September 18, 2010 8:36 PM

Forgive us, God. We know exactly what we are doing here.

Posted by: tfburke19 | September 18, 2010 8:38 PM

I'm for whatever is cheapest to remove the woman from society forever. That happens to be life in prison.

Posted by: antispy | September 18, 2010 10:40 PM

PHJesusWarrior says the following, I'll pick on things bit by bit...

"Death penalty opponents have never delivered one reasonable punishment other than the death penalty."

There's nothing remotely "reasonable" about murder. It's cruel and unconstitutional, it doesn't prevent crime or make us safer, and is hugely racist and unjust in how it's done in our nation.

"Prison is such a reasonable punishment that it is filled with those returning again and again."

Which speaks to our doing something better with people AFTER they leave jail, not to killing them all.

"There are some that are institutionalized and can not handle the world."

And society needs to look at what causes that--I promise, it happens LONG before they ever set foot in a jail cell. Again, killing them isn't the "reasonable" answer.

"As for this case she made a conscience decision about two she at one time claimed to have loved."

That's no excuse to kill her, but that's also highly questionable. If she's mentally ill no, it's NOT a "conscience decision" nor does it mean it's only a "claim" to have loved them.

"She was able to legally get married and that took a decision by her."

So, marriage means one cannot be mentally ill? are you kidding?

"Her death should be celebrated by all those demanding equality, due process and equal justice."

That's vomit. NO remotely decent human being should celebrate the death of anyone, especially the murder by the government. There's nothing remotely just about it, and I am highly offended at the blasphemy of a person calling themselves a "Jesus Warrior" while promoting something so clearly counter to Christ's law. The idea that the Prince of Peace would not only support, but "celebrate" killing someone causes me to wonder if you've ever even met Jesus Christ at all, even known the first thing about Him.

Posted by: columbiamocowboy | September 21, 2010 9:05 AM

Hey, anyone notice an interesting parallel - President Ahmadinejad of Iran is also under international pressure for the planned stoning of a woman who according to Iranian law is implicated in the death of her husband and taking a lover too, just like Ms Lewis, except it's the adultery that's getting her stoned rather than the husband's death? If I were Ahmadinejad, I'd not let the opportunity to raise this pass at his Thursday address to the UN General Assembly - the same day as Ms Lewis is due to be poisoned to death by the state. And it's the same day that President Obama speaks at the UN. If I were Ahmadinejad, I'd say "President Obama, I'm commuting the death sentence on Mrs Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, because I want to show the world that Iran is a civilised modern and compassionate country. You have the opportunity to do the same with Ms Lewis - a mentally underdeveloped woman, who like Ashtiani, was an accessory to what both our societies condemn as a grievous crime, but did not herself commit the act of murder. You have the opportunity to prove that America is compassionate, civilised and modern too, and not simply filled with hatred as many Iranians believe." Would he dare? Could put most of the civilised world who are friends of the US but condemn the death penalty as barbaric and anachronistic in an awkward position if Obama didn't issue a presidential pardon. On the other hand, it depends what time of day they do executions in Virginia - he may be a few hours too late...and if anyone thinks this is a sick thing to say, ask yourself why it's any more obscene that the state, whose powers most conservatives want to limit, being given the ultimate power of taking human life.

Posted by: politicocoa | September 21, 2010 11:04 PM

VA is the only state doing executions RIGHT. Ever hear a post story on that? VA death penalty is carried out quickly and there are few on death row (after 9pm there will be only 11 left). More leave due to executions than enter. Lets hope WILLIAM BURNS and JUSTIN WOLFE get it soon! This Woman is PURE evil. Anyone saying she doesnt deserve the DP should read the trial transcripts. She literally stood over the dying bodies handing out cash to the killers. She hired and paid the killers and now claims she is BORDERLINE mentally impared. No she is a disgusting troll that noone will remember in 2 weeks. All these protestors and media sad sack stories show just how far this country has fallen and given into feel-good politics. The law is the law and a jury said she needs to die. Liberals substituting their opinions at 11th hour does no one any good.

Posted by: espnfan | September 23, 2010 8:54 AM

As a Christian, I am expressly against the putting to death of any human being, even for the most heinous crimes. Since I am also an American and participate in this Government of “We The People” I believe it is my responsibility to stand and declare that the death penalty should be repealed. My suggestion is that it be repealed in favor of life in imprisonment.

"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Timothy 1:15-17

Posted by: jeffreylight | September 23, 2010 1:43 PM

I could understand her getting the death penalty IF the other two also received it. But she did not pull the trigger, one of the other two co-conspirators did and they got life. I understand the law says she planned the murder and therefore is held more responsible but I don't think the sentence is unfair in her case. If the others got life, she should have received the same sentence. The person who actually pulled the trigger should have received the death penalty--not just the planner. I think the law is backwards here. They should, at a minimum, have all received the same sentence, whatever that would have been. This seems very unfair and I think the Supreme Court should have intervened based on cruel and unusual treatment because of the life sentences given the other two. The VA Governor should have recognized that also instead of standing on his heels and not changing his mind. There was an injustice in sentencing in this case and the wrong person was put to death regardless of her role in the crime. The person pulling the trigger that actually ended the life of another should have been the one executed.

Posted by: nicholjo1 | September 23, 2010 9:51 PM

Who possibly opposes the death penalty here? Double premeditated murder for money? Are you kidding me? Can't we be mature enough to make the judgment that society is better off without people who decide that killing two people for insurance money is a reasonable decision? Why waste time and money sticking her in jail. I'd pay for the bullet and do the deed myself.

Posted by: p1q0 | September 23, 2010 11:35 PM

The bloodthirsty mob is an ugly thing.

What this woman did was wrong. But for the State to coolly, calculatingly kill her is wrong too.

She stopped being a danger to society when we put her behind bars. Killing this prisoner was nothing but a revenge murder committed in our name.

Posted by: vfr2dca | September 23, 2010 11:54 PM

Teresa had a disregard for life that allowed her her to decide who lived and who died, based on an insurance policy's value. I congratulate the State of Virginia for eliminating her genetic material for generations to come.

Posted by: Johndiles | September 24, 2010 12:56 AM

It is utterly hypocritical for death penalty supporters to claim that it is somehow "morally correct" to seek vengeance. At the very least, these hypocrites should admit their own immorality; but a hypocrite is as a hypocrite does -- and that, among other things, involves a refusal to look in a mirror.

Posted by: nbahn | September 24, 2010 1:51 AM

IMO this article would not have been written if this wasn't about a woman.

Posted by: eyekey416 | September 24, 2010 2:04 AM

This is just murder under the cover of law. The woman was no longer a threat to society, and never would have been again. It's not right, it's not moral, and it's not justified at all.

I don't agree with this, but somehow it's ok to spend my taxpayer money on it. Funny how that works out with the right. The hypocritical lackwits who support this type of thing disgust me.

Posted by: Nymous | September 24, 2010 5:40 AM

I'm sure Gov. McDonnell didn't lose a minute of sleep over refusing clemency to a retarded woman who didn't even pull the trigger. You are despicable, McDonnell.

Posted by: Jayne | September 24, 2010 6:01 AM

the mathematics behind this poll is phenomenal, i am awed that at the time i voted all three categories had exactly 1/3 the vote with over 4000 voters.

in this case, it was clear that this woman was not nearly smart enough to get the death penalty and she was more of an accessory than the leader. in fact, she was so butt ugly i seriously doubt there was any "love triangle" thing going on either.

having said all this. i truly think that the death penalty is a good way to eliminate all the unnecessary costs of incarceration for life sentences. if a judge and jury is going to commit a person to a life sentence in prison without any possibility for parole AND THE EVIDENCE IS OVERWHELMING, FACTUAL, AND WITHOUT ANY ERROR - (no mistakes like putting black dudes in jail when their not guilty, like in the past)...

i say go for it -- save the country from paying to keep someone alive that will die in jail anyway -- it's cheaper in the long run.

"i'm just saying"

Posted by: FranknErnest | September 24, 2010 6:39 AM

the mathematics behind this poll is phenomenal, i am awed that at the time i voted all three categories had exactly 1/3 the vote with over 4000 voters.

in this case, it was clear that this woman was not nearly smart enough to get the death penalty and she was more of an accessory than the leader. in fact, she was so butt ugly i seriously doubt there was any "love triangle" thing going on either.

having said all this. i truly think that the death penalty is a good way to eliminate all the unnecessary costs of incarceration for life sentences. if a judge and jury is going to commit a person to a life sentence in prison without any possibility for parole AND THE EVIDENCE IS OVERWHELMING, FACTUAL, AND WITHOUT ANY ERROR - (no mistakes like putting black dudes in jail when their not guilty, like in the past)...

i say go for it -- save the country from paying to keep someone alive that will die in jail anyway -- it's cheaper in the long run.

"i'm just saying"

Posted by: FranknErnest | September 24, 2010 6:40 AM

the mathematics behind this poll is phenomenal, i am awed that at the time i voted all three categories had exactly 1/3 the vote with over 4000 voters.

in this case, it was clear that this woman was not nearly smart enough to get the death penalty and she was more of an accessory than the leader. in fact, she was so butt ugly i seriously doubt there was any "love triangle" thing going on either.

having said all this. i truly think that the death penalty is a good way to eliminate all the unnecessary costs of incarceration for life sentences. if a judge and jury is going to commit a person to a life sentence in prison without any possibility for parole AND THE EVIDENCE IS OVERWHELMING, FACTUAL, AND WITHOUT ANY ERROR - (no mistakes like putting black dudes in jail when their not guilty, like in the past)...

i say go for it -- save the country from paying to keep someone alive that will die in jail anyway -- it's cheaper in the long run.

"i'm just saying"

Posted by: FranknErnest | September 24, 2010 6:40 AM

the mathematics behind this poll is phenomenal, i am awed that at the time i voted all three categories had exactly 1/3 the vote with over 4000 voters.

in this case, it was clear that this woman was not nearly smart enough to get the death penalty and she was more of an accessory than the leader. in fact, she was so butt ugly i seriously doubt there was any "love triangle" thing going on either.

having said all this. i truly think that the death penalty is a good way to eliminate all the unnecessary costs of incarceration for life sentences. if a judge and jury is going to commit a person to a life sentence in prison without any possibility for parole AND THE EVIDENCE IS OVERWHELMING, FACTUAL, AND WITHOUT ANY ERROR - (no mistakes like putting black dudes in jail when their not guilty, like in the past)...

i say go for it -- save the country from paying to keep someone alive that will die in jail anyway -- it's cheaper in the long run.

"i'm just saying"

Posted by: FranknErnest | September 24, 2010 6:40 AM

the mathematics behind this poll is phenomenal, i am awed that at the time i voted all three categories had exactly 1/3 the vote with over 4000 voters.

in this case, it was clear that this woman was not nearly smart enough to get the death penalty and she was more of an accessory than the leader. in fact, she was so butt ugly i seriously doubt there was any "love triangle" thing going on either.

having said all this. i truly think that the death penalty is a good way to eliminate all the unnecessary costs of incarceration for life sentences. if a judge and jury is going to commit a person to a life sentence in prison without any possibility for parole AND THE EVIDENCE IS OVERWHELMING, FACTUAL, AND WITHOUT ANY ERROR - (no mistakes like putting black dudes in jail when their not guilty, like in the past)...

i say go for it -- save the country from paying to keep someone alive that will die in jail anyway -- it's cheaper in the long run.

"i'm just saying"

Posted by: FranknErnest | September 24, 2010 6:41 AM

I agree that there are some definite problems with the unevenness of the way the death penalty is meted out. For instance, DC does not have it as an option, Maryland has it as an option but is highly unlikely to actually use it these days, and Virginia doles 'em out like candy. That's three radically different views within a few miles of each other. That's why John Muhammed was tried in Virginia first. Everyone knew what the sentence should be, and only one state where he committed the crimes would have the balls to do it.

But my concerns about fairness and evenness of application doesn't negate my support of the concept and does not stop me from supporting many death penalty decisions. She deserved it. The problem is that other, similar murderers deserve it too and get lighter sentences instead, such as her co-conspirators. It is their sentences I object to.

Posted by: DCCubefarm | September 24, 2010 8:14 AM

She should have been killed long ago. All states neeed to carry out more death sentences. Lets get rid of these low lifes and stop spending millions a year to house them. Just like the three strikes your out criminals. Get rid of them. Our courts are to easy on these repeat offenders. BE DONE WITH THEM. Let the bible bangers bang their bibles, who cares. Let them go met their so called maker.

Posted by: DoRight1 | September 24, 2010 8:19 AM

As a LONG TIME Homicide Investigator and Crime scene Investigations Commander. I can tell you that yes, Women can KILL your loved one also just as violently as any man. DO NOT HESITATE TO USE THE DEATH PENALTY. At the very least it is a tool for law enforcement to negociate with your KILLER, the return of your remains in exchange for a life sentence for the murderer. IT Worked, I"ve used it. AT most, it eradicates those that choose to kill you, and restores some small closure, solice to the loved ones which grieve your murder. The Death Penality, like seat belts, SAVES SOME LIVES. With out it, More DIE,That's It! Liberals need to wake up! How about going on a murder case with me, Investigate why and how a 7 year old child was repetedly raped,suffered numerous broken bones after being thrown down the stairs while already in a partial body cast due to previous abuses at the hands of her killer,and with levels of cocaine forced into her little body by the killer blowing cocaine smoke into the childs mouth to quiet the child from crying, before he and her mother went for a cab ride with the deceased child shopping for a bridge to throw her dead body from. Fortunetly, it was raining, and the killers did not want to get out into the rain, while they disposed of her body or we may still be looking for her. Oh, what's the matter, have I offended someone? No Death Penelaty, I'll do it again!!!! Look for my book someday... A STAB IN THE DARK!

Posted by: ispy4u1 | September 24, 2010 9:53 AM

1. the death penalty actually costs more then life in prison.
2. it has been shown scientifically that the death penalty does NOT reduce crime.
3. In states with the death penalty, criminals are MORE likely to kill witnesses.

Let us be a society of reason and logic, and progress past the angry mob. End the death penalty now.

We will all live better for it.

Posted by: MarilynManson | September 24, 2010 10:07 AM

The Innocence Project has shown, with DNA evidence, that more than 200 falsely convicted people have been put on death row. This is shameful for a so-called advanced democracy.

Until we can be more sure of guilt, we should not play God and kill anyone.

Posted by: brian_away | September 24, 2010 10:14 AM

I am against the death penalty and this case illustrates why. The two men who committed the murder (contract killing) got life. Why the discrepancy?

Also, too many people who have been proven innocent spent years on death row and some came within hours of being executed and were exonerated by DNA. What if they have been executed? One mistake is one too many.

Posted by: rlj1 | September 24, 2010 10:26 AM

jimjohnd, stop saying you are a Liberal.
You are a redneck.

Posted by: cjbass55 | September 24, 2010 12:29 PM

Teresa had a disregard for life that allowed her her to decide who lived and who died, based on an insurance policy's value. I congratulate the State of Virginia for eliminating her genetic material for generations to come.
Posted by: Johndiles | September 24, 2010 12:56 AM
-------------------------------------
She's a Grandmother, you idiot.

Posted by: cjbass55 | September 24, 2010 12:34 PM

Deserve has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: kchses1 | September 24, 2010 1:21 PM

The Innocence Project has shown, with DNA evidence, that more than 200 falsely convicted people have been put on death row. This is shameful for a so-called advanced democracy.
Until we can be more sure of guilt, we should not play God and kill anyone.
Posted by: brian_away
*************************************************************

I understand your concern in many cases of convictions, but wouldn't you agree that in this case there is no doubt of her involvement?

Posted by: familynet | September 24, 2010 2:50 PM

I am against the death penalty and this case illustrates why. The two men who committed the murder (contract killing) got life. Why the discrepancy?

Posted by: rlj1
**********************************************************

It is not a discrepancy. In criminal legal theory, the one who is the greater wrongdoer deserves the harsher penalty. In this case, she is the one who sought out someone to kill her victims. She is the one without whose actions, the others would not have committed their acts of murder. Therefore, if not for her, these people would today be alive. This makes her actions the more serious and deserving of the harsher penalty.

Also, consider that if we only gave the harsher penalty to those who actually commit the crime, then were would be rewarding with a lesser punishment those who plan and supervise the crime. Now how would that make sense?

Posted by: familynet | September 24, 2010 2:56 PM

Yesterday, September 23, McDonnell facilitated the ritual murder of Teresa Lewis -- the human sacrifice of a woman with retardation -- for his political ambitions.

And earlier this year, McDonnell issued his pro-Confederacy proclamation with no mention of slavery, and apparently no guilt or shame about the murder, rape, kidnapping, and torture of enslaved black people -- and the theft of their labor -- that was the basis of the Confederate economy. He did this, too, to further his political ambitions.

McDonnell is not pro-life. He's not pro-justice. He's pro-McDonnell.

Lewis was borderline retarded -- Virginia's limit is an IQ of 70, and she tested at 72. She was NOT the mastermind -- one of the two killers was. He wanted the insurance money and whatever other inheritance he could get Lewis to give him, and wrote a letter in prison admitting his motives and his delight that Lewis was so easily led.

The two men each shot one of Lewis's relatives. One killed her husband. One killed her 25-y-o stepson, who had a $350K insurance policy. The killers planned to benefit from that policy, and from her husband's estate, because one of them was having an affair with Lewis.

Lewis took no part in the shootings. The two shooters got life in prison. Only Lewis -- the woman who played no active role except for leaving a door unlocked -- received the death penalty.

This is not equal justice under the law. Shame on Governor McDonnell, and shame on every Virginian who didn't try to stop him from permitting this grievous sin in our names.

Posted by: ankhorite | September 24, 2010 3:44 PM

Virginia is for barbarians

Posted by: ChairmanX | September 24, 2010 4:14 PM

Wow! That was quite a comment below by a Fascist claiming to be "liberal."

Posted by: Eureka1 | September 24, 2010 4:55 PM

mcsejones, do you have a source for your statement that illegal Mexicans kill 5,000 Americans a year? I can't find one, so please share.

Also, which are the entitlement programs used by lazy, self-centered people? Are people who are receiving unemployment lazy and self centered because they can't find a job in a recession and can't move to look for work because they can't sell their homes? How about people who receive SSI due to a real disability? Those on social security? Those who use Medicare? Those who resort to Medicaid because under the current system of health care that Republicans seem to think is hunky dory, millions of people with health care problems are refused insurance due to pre-existing conditions or can no longer afford it because they had the audacity to seek treatment for an illness.


Posted by: exco | September 24, 2010 5:08 PM

I've never heard a single good argument in support of the death penalty my entire life. The cold state-sponsored killing of a human being is barbaric and, despite their heinous crimes, just sends shivers down my spine. My answer to people who would rather the person be executed than serve an expensive and lengthy prison term is that there are many convicted felons already serving prison terms that we are paying for anyway. Do all of them deserve the death penalty so we don't have to subsidize their incarcerated and unproductive lives? Sure, you may respond that the death penalty is only reserved for the most wicked and cruel, but many people who are in prison meet that definition. Some of them with crimes that fit the description of the ones committed in this instance. Judges have an enormous amount of discretion over whether to apply the death penalty in individual cases. Research shows that the defendant's guilt notwithstanding, the competence of the attorney makes a difference in avoiding the death penalty sentence in states that permit it. In short, it is not applied on a uniform basis. How bad to a person's crimes have to be to warrant death? We all die anyway at some point. What good does hastening death due to society? Balance that benefit with the value of a human life who may contribute some good to society if allowed to live. Killing ensures that she can do neither harm nor good in this world.

Posted by: leilaash | September 24, 2010 6:19 PM

If we start executing liberals, then there won't be anyone left to complain....

Posted by: WildBill1 | September 24, 2010 6:25 PM

If we start executing liberals, then there won't be anyone left to complain....
Posted by: WildBill1 | September 24, 2010 6:25 PM
=============
There you have it. The death penalty support argument comes from people who make statements as stupid as the one above.

Posted by: revbookburn | September 24, 2010 6:56 PM

66% feel she should not have been executed either because they are against the death penalty or felt she didn't qualify for it.

Posted by: SusanMarie2 | September 24, 2010 8:45 PM

This is an incomplete question. Lewis did a horrible thing, but if it was "unfair" to give the second shooter the death penalty then it was "unfair" to give her the death penalty.

It doesn't matter who you think was the master mind. Participating in the planning and pulling the trigger was just as heinous.

I am not condoning what Lewis did. I am not justifying it. But justice is not blind if her accomplices weren't given the same sentence. Since they weren't, she shouldn't have either.

Posted by: arancia12 | September 24, 2010 9:10 PM

Death penalty opponents have never delivered one reasonable punishment other than the death penalty. Prison is such a reasonable punishment that it is filled with those returning again and again...

POSTED BY: PHJESUSWARRIOR7

Sir or Ma'am, think about your reasoning. One could say that the death penalty is so effective people are still killing other people.

Perhaps your argument is that the same people aren't killing again after the death penalty, but it certainly has not stopped others from killing also.

Life in prison prevents people from killing again too, you know.

Posted by: arancia12 | September 24, 2010 9:14 PM

If we start executing liberals, then there won't be anyone left to complain....
Posted by: WildBill1 | September 24, 2010 6:25 PM
=============
There you have it. The death penalty support argument comes from people who make statements as stupid as the one above.

POSTED BY: REVBOOKBURN | SEPTEMBER 24, 2010 6:56 PM
_____________________

Agreed. Apparently it can't even be reported as insane either.

Posted by: arancia12 | September 24, 2010 9:24 PM

The Iranian President has a point in charging the U.S. with hypocrisy regarding the cases of Ms. Ashtiani and Teresa Lewis. News sources report that Ashtiani confessed on TV to being complicit in her husband's murder. (Her lawyer says the confession was a result of coercion, which is probably true. But the U.S. nowadays has accepted coercion as a legitimate means of obtaining confessions, so we are not better than Iran on that score either.) If she was complicit in her husband's murder, her case is exactly like that of Teresa Lewis. Teresa Lewis's co-conspirators, the two males who actually did the murder, got life; how is it justice that she gets the death penalty? Lewis has an IQ 2 points above mental retardation, which would preclude her execution, and apparently was manipulated by one of the triggerman who got life. But Governor McDonnell was unwilling to spare her life as an act of executive clemency. Yes, stoning obviously is barbaric and medieval. I think it is just as barbaric to stick a needle in the vein of a living, breathing human being (no matter what their crimes) and inject poison into their veins to snuff out their life. (The law has long considered premeditated poisoning one of the most heinous forms of murder.) Who is to say that lethal injection does not impose unbearable pain in the final moments of the victim's life? Right-wingers fear (hysterically and without basis) that shariah may become the law of the land in the U.S.. "An eye for an eye, a life for a life," a tenet of shariah, is the principle some Christians use to justify the death penalty. In that guise, shariah has been stalking our land for over 200 years. I oppose the death penalty on grounds of Christianity and humanitarianism. The fact that it is so popular in the U.S. is a sign of our barbarousness and moral depravity. We are the 8th leading nation in the world in the use of the death penalty. We are just below China, Congo, and five Islamic nations. It is time we ban the death penalty like most of the rest of the civilized world!

Posted by: JohnKolar | September 24, 2010 9:43 PM

The killings she helped facilitate are horrendous, yet given her limited mental abilities and the various other factors which may have played a part in the deaths including the ability of the shooters to influence her, her acts are in the end very forgivable. Where she in any other civilized nation, she would have done her time, paid her debt to society, and then moved on. Instead, she became a pawn of some politicians and others who choose to sacrifice a life for their own political gain or twisted, archaic, and sadistic ideologies. Sadly, their act of murder is far more deserving of severe punishment than her confused act which resulted in murder. There's was planned and obviously without remorse. We the people, should speak out and demand justice in cases like this. Not the kind of perverted justice these quasi-humans deal out, but real justice ... jail sentences, rehabilitation, and whatever else can help to make them civilized human beings and not the revengeful animals that they currently are.

Posted by: JohnSmith7 | September 24, 2010 11:15 PM

The killings she helped facilitate are horrendous, yet given her limited mental abilities and the various other factors which may have played a part in the deaths including the ability of the shooters to influence her, her acts are in the end very forgivable. Where she in any other civilized nation, she would have done her time, paid her debt to society, and then moved on. Instead, she became a pawn of some politicians and others who choose to sacrifice a life for their own political gain or twisted, archaic, and sadistic ideologies. Sadly, their act of murder is far more deserving of severe punishment than her confused act which resulted in murder. There's was planned and obviously without remorse. We the people, should speak out and demand justice in cases like this. Not the kind of perverted justice these quasi-humans deal out, but real justice ... jail sentences, rehabilitation, and whatever else can help to make them civilized human beings and not the revengeful animals that they currently are.

Posted by: JohnSmith7 | September 24, 2010 11:15 PM

The killings she helped facilitate are horrendous, yet given her limited mental abilities and the various other factors which may have played a part in the deaths including the ability of the shooters to influence her, her acts are in the end very forgivable. Where she in any other civilized nation, she would have done her time, paid her debt to society, and then moved on. Instead, she became a pawn of some politicians and others who choose to sacrifice a life for their own political gain or twisted, archaic, and sadistic ideologies. Sadly, their act of murder is far more deserving of severe punishment than her confused act which resulted in murder. There's was planned and obviously without remorse. We the people, should speak out and demand justice in cases like this. Not the kind of perverted justice these quasi-humans deal out, but real justice ... jail sentences, rehabilitation, and whatever else can help to make them civilized human beings and not the revengeful animals that they currently are.

Posted by: JohnSmith7 | September 24, 2010 11:16 PM

I think the point of the judges ruling was that the wife/step mother planned this. Without her initial involvement this would've never happened, hence the "head of the serpent" comment he made during sentencing.

I was under the assumption, though, that premeditated murder deserved the death penalty and I am perplexed as to why the two scum that pulled the trigger didn't receive the same. She certainly planned it but they completed it, didn't they?

The death penalty exists in this state whether we like it or not. The question remains was it meted out fairly? Or was she made a scapegoat for the entire tragedy?

Posted by: skippyaveo | September 24, 2010 11:29 PM

I was going to comment on ANKHORITE'S post but decided it would be fruitless. I seem to remember that it was Africans that enslaved Africans and sent them off to the colonies to be sold. Also, an executed rapist does not rape again. I recall in 1970 being present at the military airport in Taipei when a plane came in from Vietnam. Secret police detained a Chinese Lt Commander getting off the plane. They searched his bags and found heroin. He was charged with smuggling drugs and immediately taken to a building where a military court was convened. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. The paperwork was sent to the General Staff which approved the sentence. He was executed first thing the next morning. Did not cost the people of Taiwan anything at all.

Posted by: l-rod751 | September 24, 2010 11:41 PM

As mentioned by other commenters, the two actual murderers are not being executed. One of them -- the man who purported to be the woman's "boyfriend" -- has an IQ of 140. The woman, on the other hand, was reported by professional evaluation to be highly suggestible, and easily led.

The act was evil. The question is, whose act was it? The woman's lawyer apparently believed that the judge would understand that she had been misled. Instead, the judge seems to have considered her more culpable than the fellows he apparently was willing to warehouse.

We don't know enough facts, but it sounds suspiciously as if the judge was punishing her for not being a good girl. He apparently didn't think the actual murderers were sufficiently evil to execute.

Posted by: thmas | September 24, 2010 11:47 PM

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