Teresa Lewis, first woman to be executed in Virginia since 1912

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - For the first time since 1912, Virginia has executed a woman. 41-year-old Teresa Lewis died by injection two hours ago for the murder-for-hire killings of her husband and stepson.

You could hear bells tolling in the distance at the 9 o'clock hour. Those came from protestors just outside the prison gates. 13 minutes later, Lewis was dead.

"The execution of Teresa Lewis has been carried out in the manner prescribed by the laws of Virginia. Death was pronounced at 9:13 pm," said Department of Corrections spokesman, Larry Traylor.

Lewis' last words-- a message to the daughter of one of the men she hired hit men to kill.

"She said, 'I just want Kathy to know I love her and I am very sorry,'" said Traylor.

Her attorney says Lewis penned two letters to her children, one of whom she spent the day with. Lewis, her attorney and spiritual advisor then prayed before Lewis walked 15 steps into the death chamber.

"She looked a little startled when she walked in. She looked around - it was a fearful expression," said media witness Mary Glod with the Washington Post.

About an hour before Lewis took her last breath, death penalty opponents held vigil outside the prison gates. Among them, Clare Hogenauer. Arriving by taxi, the retired criminal defense lawyer traveled all the way from Manhattan to bring a message to Virginia.

"Virginia you are the murderer tonight," said Hogenauer.

Hogenaur was joined by Lou Hart from Charlottesville.

"Some people would pray for her. I would like for all of us to hold her in the bright light of the holy spirit," said Hart.

Her attorney said Lewis got pulled into a terrible tragedy on that fateful day in October 2002, but in the end found peace.

"She had accepted what was going to happen tonight a long time ago. She was very peaceful with that," said Jim Rocap.

Lewis' body is on its way to the medical examiner's office in Richmond for autopsy.

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