September 23, 2010

"Tonight the death machine exterminated the beautiful childlike and loving spirit of Teresa Lewis."

Said Lewis's lawyer.
Lewis' life took a deadly turn after she married Julian, whom she met at a Danville textile factory in 2000. Two years later, his son Charles entered the U.S. Army Reserve. When he was called for active duty he obtained a $250,000 life insurance policy, naming his father the beneficiary and providing temptation for Teresa Lewis.

Both men would have to die for Lewis to receive the insurance payout....

On the night before Halloween in 2002, after she prayed with her husband, Lewis got out of bed, unlocked the door to their mobile home and put the couple's pit bull in a bedroom so the animal wouldn't interfere. Shallenberger and Fuller came in and shot both men several times with the shotguns Lewis had bought for them.

80 comments:

Palladian said...

Childlike, like Lord of the Flies.

Good riddance.

1jpb said...

It does make some sense to permanently lock up some of these low IQ folks. Although, she sure was devious.

Ann Althouse said...

The idea that she's borderline mentally disabled doesn't square with the story of the crime she committed.

I'm opposed to the death penalty, but I hate these dishonest arguments.

A.W. said...

Ann

You left out the part where she arranged for the statutory rape of her daughter as a way to entice the killers of her husband and step son.

What a completely vile woman. Good riddance.

And notice the misleading headline on huffpo, calling her mentally disabled. if she was, they wouldn't be executing her under Supreme Court precedent.

And i would add that stupidity and evil are not mutually exclusive. And for that matter, evil and intelligence aren't either.

I am a virginian and i am glad we removed this piece of garbage from the human race.

lucid said...

Her lawyer must be as much of a psychopath as was his client.

Chef Mojo said...

Another Virginian here, and I'm quite glad to see her die. What she did was beyond the pale and quite deserving of death.

The only thing I'm opposed about as far as the death penalty is that it takes too long. But it's getting better. This case only took 8 years for justice to be served.

Junkyard Ballerina said...

Tim Conway Jr. radio program, KFI Los Angeles - played the theme to MASH as he reported on the execution story.
(I'll just go ahead and assume this esteemed panel knows why)

Made my day.

Jana said...

Oh, my. I am such a squish. I'm generally against the death penalty, but every time I am confronted with these disgusting crimes, it's hard to get all worked up about it. Another crime I think of often when trying to define my position on the DP is the Carnation murders here locally in 2007. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnation_Massacre) Shooting two kids? And this lady? Setting up the rape of her daughter -- what?!

Yeah, I'm a total squish.

former law student said...

The loving spirit that induced Teresa Lewis to offer her body and her 16 yo daughter's body to her husband's killers.

The only problem with the death penalty in this case is that one life won't atone for two deaths. So why did the shotters get life?

holdfast said...

It's sad really - sad that she can only be killed once.

Yes a life insurance policy was so tempting - I mean, it was sitting right there and all she had to do was procure the killing of her husband and son. Sort of reminds me of that Mullah in Australia who compared the rape of women in scanty clothing to the inevitable result of leaving cat meat uncovered. Why must there be so much temptation in this world?

Mark said...

Why is this an issue? Too bad they couldn't do it a few times, to cover for both murders and the contract rape of her step-daughter.

Revenant said...

If you really want to see something surreal, read all the Huffpo commenters droning on about how tragic the execution is and how Lewis couldn't possibly have understood that the killing was wrong.

bagoh20 said...

"Lewis couldn't possibly have understood that the killing was wrong."

My dog knows when she's doing something wrong.

Big Mike said...

Make that three Virginians who are glad that she's gone. I think we overuse the death penalty in the United States, but not in this case.

T J Sawyer said...

I have to be consistent. I don't think the government can do much of anything well, so how can I trust it to put the right people to death? I'm opposed.

And yet, if Kitty Dukakis were my wife and ... Well, there's always room for an exception.



WV - sherria - what the hell?

former law student said...

how can I trust it to put the right people to death?

The question is not whether we are executing the most deserving people, but whether the people we do execute merit it.

Do you see any weak links in the chain that connects Lewis's acts to her death penalty? Amorality is not a recognized disability. If she had been "just kidding," why did she buy the killers a shotgun? If she had been victim of spousal violence, why did she have her stepson shot?

Her reasoning ability seems to be sound: Kill the stepson, husband gets the insurance money; kill the husband, "I" get the insurance money. And finally I can live in a doublewide instead of a single.

Juba Doobai! said...

The woman knew how to get what she wanted, and she used vile means to do it: the prostitution of her daughter; the slaughter of her husband and stepson. Then she had the nerve to tell her stepdaughter that she loved her. Had that been true she'd not have murdered the girl's father. The awful thing is she prayed with her husband and then opened the door for his killers. A veritable Lady Macbeth. Nearly retarded? Like a fox.

jr565 said...

for someone so mentally challenged she seems awfully familiar with insurance rules and how to snare boyfriends to kill her family. That takes some cunning.

Did you ever see Corky from Life Goes On do something so devious? Mentally challenged people are supposed to be lovalble, like puppies, and not stone cold killers like pit bulls. I'll have to rethink my views of the mentally challenged now.

Methadras said...

Ann Althouse said...

I'm opposed to the death penalty, but I hate these dishonest arguments.


What is the opposition to the death penalty for? You should be standing up and cheering and having a party for seeing this sub-human animal of evil go to the only place reserved for her. Shit, you should be volunteering to throw the damn switch. Death penalty opposition is as ironic as your hatred for dishonest arguments for why these animals shouldn't be removed permanently from life itself for what they've done. Then we as a people have to endure the fact that these skin-sacks of evil have to live further on our dime. I don't get it.

Revenant said...

What is the opposition to the death penalty for?

I can't speak for our hostess, but in my case it is because I don't trust the government or the police -- I don't trust them to be honest, and I don't trust them to be competent. So I'm disinclined to trust them with the authority to kill Americans.

Cedarford said...

Revenent - " So I'm disinclined to trust them with the authority to kill Americans."

Then your reservations must extend to the ability of government and juries to determine justice in all cases that involve imprisonment or fines.

Or the matter of arming police or sending military people with weapons out on missions.

AllenS said...

I'm opposed to the death penalty

Are you opposed to abortion?

Put me down as pro death penalty.

The Drill SGT said...

4th Virginian here voting in favor of putting her under

traditionalguy said...

Any society that refuses to use a death penalty in cases like this one hates its citizens. Apparently, to live a full life span in safety is asking too much in the Killer Lover societies.

edutcher said...

"childlike and loving" spirits don't create real-life remakes "Double Indemnity".

A crime this heinous deserves death. Ann may still have some of liberal inclinations on social issues, but, given that forensic methods make sending the wrong one to an undeserved fate far less likely, execution insures that someone like this will never do it again.

MarkW said...

Then your reservations must extend to the ability of government and juries to determine justice in all cases that involve imprisonment or fines.

My reservations certainly do extend that far. It is, unfortunately, just NOT unheard of for innocent people to be convicted, imprisoned and sent to death row by corrupt, immoral and/or incompetent police, prosecutors, and other officials. Go read some of Radley Balko's work. This would be a good place to start:

http://reason.com/archives/2009/02/19/reasons-reporting-on-steven-ha

(Especially read about Dr West's 'expert bit mark analysis'). And then tell me you're completely fine with trusting the government with the death penalty.

It is at least possible for innocent people serving long sentences to be exonerated (as many have in recent years). But execution is obviously irreversible. Far better to let all the scum like Teresa Lewis live out their lives in a cell than to continue to execute some innocent, wrongly convicted men (as we have surely done).

Clyde said...

I wonder if any of the death penalty protesters felt any sadness about the two men who were murdered because of Teresa Lewis' greed?

I'm firmly in favor of the death penalty in particularly heinous cases in which there is no doubt about the guilt of the perpetrators, like that Connecticut case that's currently in the news. In that case, I think that Dr. Petit (the lone survivor of his family) should be given the option of administering the lethal injections to the bastards himself. It's far too easy a death for them than they deserve, of course, but it's the best we can do under our Constitutional law.

Sixty Grit said...

The local story this week is the black thug who murdered the white UNC student body president, while on parole and after participating in the murder of a Duke student. He won't be put to death. Instead he will be given the luxury of life in the federal prison while his victims got no such considerations.

In liberal's minds, this is what passes for justice in this country. The correct solution is to spend $.35, shoot that cocksucker in the head and be done with him, preferably right behind the court house.

Shanna said...

From the article:

Her fate also had drawn appeals from the European Union, an indignant rebuke from Iran and the disgust of thousands of people.

Raise your hand if you care what Iran thinks of our justice system! What an awful, awful story. She moved the pitbull to clear the way. So sad.

ndspinelli said...

When I was in college back in the early 70's I was interviewed by the local newspaper..a man in the street piece where they ask a question and put your photo w/ your answer. The question was about the death penalty. I was opposed.

My views have evolved and changed on many issues, but not on the death penalty. My first investigator job was w/ the Prosecutors office in a large city. I worked @ Leavenworth, as did my bride. We have seen many sociopaths and understand more than most just how purely evil they are. However, neither of us believe in the death penalty.

Clyde said...

Say what you will, the death penalty really cuts down on recidivism. And given the airheads and bleeding hearts out there running parole boards, there's no guarantee that "life in prison" really means "life in prison." I've read far too many stories in the news about criminals who were out on parole committing more heinous crimes against innocent victims when they should never have been walking the streets as free men. The death penalty keeps that from happening in the cases where it is applied.

John Burgess said...

Because the state makes so many errors in major cases, I'm reluctant to give them the power to take un-reparable mistakes. Get the prosecutors and courts working better and I could support the DP.

Still, with irrefutable evidence and clean trials, I'm not going to moan because someone is put to death.

@T J Sawyer... 'sherria' is a form of government that makes sherry the national drink. No biggie.

WV: sonati jail house snitches.

Original Mike said...

"I'm opposed to the death penalty."

"Are you opposed to abortion?"


Good question, Allen.

We kill the innocent and protect the guilty. What a fucked up world we have made for ourselves.

Original Mike said...

My dog knows when she's doing something wrong.

Yep.

AllenS said...

Mike,

I've noticed over the years that many of the people who oppose the death penalty are for abortion. Makes no sense to me.

rdkraus said...

Count me with the squishies. I'm against the death penalty (generally for the reasons Revenant cites + after 25+ years of practicing law and seeing the system up close and personal, I don't trust the court system to make that (death) decision). On the other hand, when I hear about most executions, I can't get too worked up about them.

A.W. said...

TJ

> I don't think the government can do much of anything well, so how can I trust it to put the right people to death? I'm opposed.

But its not just the government. It’s the government with people paid to basically fisk their case (i.e. the defense lawyer), and everything stacked in favor of the defendant.

Now you might say, “but death is irreversible.” But so is prison time. if you are sent to prison and are forced to be some hairy dude’s “girlfriend” there is no taking that back.

Sixty

> The local story this week is the black thug who murdered the white UNC student body president, while on parole and after participating in the murder of a Duke student

Well, its good to see the killer was not participating in the Duke/UNC rivalry. (sorry, tasteless, I know, but I couldn’t resist)

Shanna

> Raise your hand if you care what Iran thinks of our justice system

I think Iran opposed having her killed because she killed an American veteran.

Or maybe they thought the victims were jews.

And notice, my hand is not raised.

More seriously, they are only complaining because they think this is a way to harm our reputation. And Huffpo helps them do that.

Pogo said...

"Lewis enticed two men through sex, cash and a promised cut in an insurance policy to shoot her husband"

This woman enticed men through sex.
I'm speechless.

Clyde said...

@ Pogo

Two-bagger.

Original Mike said...

Yeah, I share Rev's reservations about the legal system. In a perfect world, where mistakes aren't made and you can trust the cops and the legal system, I've got no problem with killing the likes of Lewis. In the real world, I think it's enough to let her rot in jail.

Original Mike said...

I've noticed that too, Allen. Hard to understand.

Pogo said...

@Clyde.
Heh; new term to me.
I first thought I'd hit a double.

rdkraus said...

Pogo

Damn you for making me look at, and think about, that.

Must go wash my brain out.

Salamandyr said...

The Washington Post article claims that her mental development was about that of a 13 year old...which seems like a stretching of the definition of "mental disability". I would say a 13 year old is old enough to know you don't murder your husband and stepson for insurance money.

Pogo said...

Gah.
Was this the face that launch'd a thousand shits?
The horizontal hustle with a hobbit.

Fred4Pres said...

Buh bye.

Fred4Pres said...

The death penalty in my opinion should be applied sparingly to the most eggregious cases...but premeditated murder such as this meets the minimum conditions for its application.

Pogo said...

@rdkraus
Sorry; problem solved.

Quaestor said...

MarkW wrote: "Far better to let all the scum like Teresa Lewis live out their lives in a cell than to continue to execute some innocent, wrongly convicted men."

If only we could rely on a life sentence truly meaning life. But a system that through corruption or incompetence may execute an innocent may also release a justly imprisoned murderer.

We thought Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, the only man convicted in the matter of the bombing of Pan Am 103, was safely imprisoned for life, didn't we?

Quaestor said...

@ John Burgess

No, no no. Sherria - a body of Islamic law which requires bottles of fortified wine to be kept hidden in brown paper bags.

knox said...

I'm against the death penalty, for the same reasons stated by others here. Our justice system is far too imperfect to send people to death. My reservations do not arise from any pity or compassion for murderers, just to be clear.

DADvocate said...

Far better to let all the scum like Teresa Lewis live out their lives in a cell than to continue to execute some innocent, wrongly convicted men (as we have surely done).

Is there any question as to this woman's guilt? No, so let her fry. Work on making sure only the 100% guilty get the death penalty.

I'm a lot more worried and pissed about women like Mary Winkler who kill their husbands and walk because they claim abuse. Of course, he's not there to defend himself. And them people buy the poor woman a car and provide her with a house. She is a widow, after all.

A.W. said...

btw, i love how the Huffpo is trying to push her mental disability.

A few years back they did a study about what influences whether a person is labeled retarded or merely learning disabled. the difference is crucial, because a learning disability is seen as akin to a physical disability--that is specific inhibition that can be overcome or circumvented. meanwhile if you are retarded, they pretty much give up on you.

For instance, i have dysgraphia. it makes it hard for me to write by hand. but only by hand. when i type on a computer i am perfectly normal, so obviously it is easy to circumvent that. Indeed it is common for learning disabled people to be simultaneously considered a genius. Albert Einstein, who was dyslexic, is a prime example of that.

So what factors influenced the analysis?

Well, being black for one.

And being ugly for another. yes, the uglier you are, the more likely you are to be labelled retarded. now look at that huffpo article ann linked to. do you see what they are doing now?

bagoh20 said...

Nobody is in favor of executing the innocent, but we could execute a lot more evil S.O.B.s without ever even getting close to an innocent.

Most cases are clear cut with multiple vectors of conclusive evidence. Let's at least do those, or we can't really say we care much about murder or it's victims.

In cases as gruesome and inhuman as those like the Christian/Newsome rape-torture-murder, you can't let such animals live out their lives with books, TV, conversation, conjugal visits or even the relief of another breath and still say such barbarity really bothers you.

If a crime is truly capital and horrendous, then execution proves that is really how we judge it. Otherwise, we are liars and poseurs, feigning morality we don't have the spine for.

GMay said...

"I've noticed over the years that many of the people who oppose the death penalty are for abortion. Makes no sense to me."

Wait until sunsong wades into this thread talking about his/her unbridled capability for compassion and abhorrence of cruelty of any type, yet his/her unwavering support of abortion.

Original Mike said...

the uglier you are, the more likely you are to be labelled retarded.

I've been fighting that my entire life.

GMay said...

"Tonight the death machine exterminated the beautiful childlike and loving spirit of Teresa Lewis."

My Ten-year-old is literally childlike and he knows not to murder his family for money.

But hey, the "loving" part must come from how willing she was to use her "love" to solicit the services of two trigger pullers.

Cedarford said...

John Burgess said...
Because the state makes so many errors in major cases, I'm reluctant to give them the power to take un-reparable mistakes
=================
But there is nothing repairable about lost years of life for someone wrongfully convicted and sent to jail.

There is nothing we can do about the fact that the medical profession accidentally kills tens of thousands of people a year except try and reduce that rate.

We can't create perfection...and then base that failure as the justification, the rationale why we can't afford to field a military, have hospitals, arm police, have a death penalty...because a mistake would somehow bankrupt our entire civilization morally..

----------------
There is also a proportionality problem. We don't put shoplifters in max security jails. Liberals agonize about sentencing unfairness between crack coke and powder coke.
But if "one sentence fits all murders" - life without parole - you say that someone shooting his wife in an argument is no different than a man over in Cheshire CT who invaded a home, raped and tortured an 11 year old and 17-year old, then burned them and their Mom to death.
That justice meant that the two murderers would have exactly the same sentence, share the same cell possibly, with exactly the same rights and amenities.

That throws the concept of proportionality need of justice right out the window.

Cedarford said...

AW - "btw, i love how the Huffpo is trying to push her mental disability."

THe same death penalty lawyer that called Lewis sweet and gentle and highly spiritual and caring arranged to have the IQ tests done.

Prosecutors laughed at the results, noting she had every reason to do as poorly as possible. And that her past - HS graduate, attending a semester of college, earning a nursing certificate....then engaging in a detailed prolonged plot to bring her conspiracy together was not something a "borderline retarded" person could do.

Predictably, the anti-death penalty community and the liberal media seized on the IQ tests her lawyer hired someone to administer as the gospel truth.

bagoh20 said...

Her low IQ score after obviously living a capable life is further proof of her sanity and mental capacity. If she scored highly, I might accept insanity.

Big Mike said...

... the beautiful childlike and loving spirit of Teresa Lewis.

Now I remember why I want to punch hippies.

John Burgess said...

@Cedarford: Agreed, a long, unjust prison sentence does impose great suffering. The time lost can not be given back.

It can be compensated, however weakly, with cash to make the remainder of the vindicated prisoner's life better than average, though. Decidedly not a perfect recompense, but better than a lot of other options.

If a prisoner is vindicated only after execution, there's nothing that's going to help anyone very much.

Maguro said...

I thought liberals didn't believe in IQ tests.

Fen said...

So she killed two and died all over 250K. Good riddance.

Lemme know where her grave is, so I can desecrate it. Let the buzzards pick her clean.

DADvocate said...

I thought liberals didn't believe in IQ tests.

They don't. They believe everyone is childlike and needs their lives controlled by the government.

Paul Zrimsek said...

And just when I was finally starting to get over losing the enchanting, pixieish spirit of Tom McVeigh!

Sixty Grit said...

I like the sound of "death machine". Where can one get such a wonderful contrivance?

Revenant said...

Then your reservations must extend to the ability of government and juries to determine justice in all cases that involve imprisonment or fines.

I have reservations about that, too. I think a lot of innocent people get convicted, and a lot of "guilty" people go to jail for things that should in no way be illegal.

Or the matter of arming police or sending military people with weapons out on missions.

The world is an imperfect place. There are risks associated with those things, but police and military are necessary. The death penalty isn't; societies can work just fine without it.

Revenant said...

I've noticed over the years that many of the people who oppose the death penalty are for abortion. Makes no sense to me

Cows have greater sentience than human fetuses, yet many people who cheerfully eat butchered cattle recoil in horror at the idea of legal abortion. That makes no sense to me.

Well actually it does make sense to me, because I understand that people differ in how and why they assign moral value to things. Fetuses are alive and genetically human, and eventually become wonderful and lovable little children and, eventually, adults. To some people that means fetuses need protecting.

To others, like me, a fetus is a living creature with the brains of a squirrel. This gives it the moral value of, well, a squirrel, i.e. the things I have been trying to eradicate from my backyard because they get on my effin' nerves.

knox said...

Most cases are clear cut with multiple vectors of conclusive evidence. Let's at least do those, or we can't really say we care much about murder or it's victims.

I'd have no problem if we could somehow restrict execution to the cases that are 100% provable. But that's not how our justice system works. It's "Beyond a reasonable doubt" ... and thereby hundreds of innocents have ended up on death row.

If there were a foolproof way to do it, my wish would be for murderers and sadistic rapists/abusers to be executed.

Class factotum said...

I am against abortion and the death penalty.

Against the death penalty because

1. I don't want the state to have the power to decide who lives and who dies.
2. True throw away the key life in prison is a far worse punishment than death.
3. There is always a chance for spiritual redemption if someone is still alive. (This one matters only to people who believe in God, souls, afterlife, etc.)

Maguro said...

To others, like me, a fetus is a living creature with the brains of a squirrel. This gives it the moral value of, well, a squirrel, i.e. the things I have been trying to eradicate from my backyard because they get on my effin' nerves.

Interesting...where does your moral calculus leave young children and the mentally disabled? Are we free to gun them down if they get on our nerves?

ak said...

The mental disability BS is so beyond cynical. Being narcissistic, ignorant, rapacious trailer trash isn't a mental disability. And having an actual mental disability, including Down's, doesn't prevent you from knowing right from wrong.

Jeff Mitchell said...

It is true you can't bring the victim to life by executing the killer. This means that the price paid by the killer is too low, not too high.

A true life sentence is still capital punishment where the method is simply by old age. They are kept in a cage for what purpose?

As for innocents being executed, it makes a good lesson about associating with the wrong crowd. It would really be nice if we could be 100% correct on executions, I think on balance saves more innocent lives than it loses. I don't know how much deterrence works, but I believe it does. Between that and the price of murder being too low, I'm in favor of capital punishment. (I hate to use the word punishment, because usually I think of punishment is a means of people learning to behave better whereas execution is simply to rid society of the person)

stevenehrbar said...

To others, like me, a fetus is a living creature with the brains of a squirrel. This gives it the moral value of, well, a squirrel, i.e. the things I have been trying to eradicate from my backyard because they get on my effin' nerves

You do realize, applied consistently, this standard either bans killing does or allows killing six-month-olds?

stevenehrbar said...

"dogs", not "does".

c3 said...

I'm opposed to the death penalty, but I hate these dishonest arguments.

Agreed

Revenant said...

You do realize, applied consistently, this standard either bans killing does or allows killing six-month-olds?

Could you explain your reasoning?

A.W. said...

Cedarford

> Prosecutors laughed at the results, noting she had every reason to do as poorly as possible.

Excellent point. Its not like IQ tests can’t be faked if you have a reason to malinger.

But this is just one example of what the decision that says you cannot execute those considered retarded, is a retarded ruling. Part of the problem is that the persistent stereotype of the handicapped is that either they are angelically good, or satanically bad. For instance, Thaddeus Stevens, who fought for true racial equality about 100 years before MLK made his “I have a dream” speech had what was known as a club foot. At the time there was a superstition that this signified that he was literally the son of satan. Even one of his biographers, Richard Current, engaged in that stereotype, while Fawn Brodie, another biographer, felt that he was so embittered by discrimination he wanted to punish the south.

The truth, however, was that having faced discrimination all his life, he identified with what black people were going through to a level that most white guys didn’t in the 1860’s. Not that he as any kind of perfect man, but I think on balance his bad experiences made him into a better person.

> And that her past - HS graduate, attending a semester of college, earning a nursing certificate.

I hear she aced the section on the nursing exam on poisonous substances. (rim shot)

Joking aside, I work in a health care company and I am very dubious of the idea that anyone who was below average intelligence could get their nursing cert. in fact, I would be pretty frightened if they could.

Burgess

> If a prisoner is vindicated only after execution, there's nothing that's going to help anyone very much.

And if we do away with executions, then more innocent people die.

By the way, let me ask you this. A man is in prison and while there, he murders a guard.

What do you propose we do with him?

Take away his pudding privileges?

Isn’t the death penalty at least necessary in that case?

I would add that liberals would be much more convincing on this topic if they weren’t simultaneously advocating for kinder, gentler prison conditions. Now I do agree that one feature of prison life—the constant rape—has to be controlled. But let’s not give them videogames, or, for that matter, free weights.

Revenant

> Cows have greater sentience than human fetuses,

What a bunch of horsesh-t. you are telling me a fetus at 8 months and 3 weeks of life isn’t as sentient as a fully born baby?

Wally Kalbacken said...

"Pit bull", "mobile home" and "insurance policy death benefit" - with a combination like that you know someone is going to buy the farm.