A FAIR Execution?

Katherine - posted on 09/17/2010 ( 40 moms have responded )

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Should she be executed? She never pulled the trigger. She may not even be developmentally ABLE to plot something like this. I read this article and it really mad me angry. Why is this woman bing put to death when she didn't even committ the murders? What are your opinions?

http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/09/17/virg...

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Eronne - posted on 09/19/2010

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Other than issues of revenge which a civilized society should never support. The death penalty simply doesn't work. There is great controversy in the US about this issue but around the world the facts are in. Canada abolished the death penalty 20 years ago. Since then our murder rate has dropped, our conviction rate for first degree murder has gone up. There is a substantially lower rate of homicides in Canada - just under 2 per 100,000 as opposed to 8 per 100,000 in the US, but this is predominately due to gun laws. 70% of US murders are by gun only 30% in Canada. Besides the fact there is NO deterrent with capital punishment it is far more expensive than life in prison and mistakes happen. During the last 10 years in Canada 6 men who would have been executed had we had the death penalty, were found innocent. Ben Franklin reiterate a great moral truth "it is better [one hundred] guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer". In the last 25 years, 137 inmates have been released from death row in the US after being found innocent. What civilized society can bear making even one mistake like this.

Eronne - posted on 09/23/2010

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I have to throw something else into our conversation. I raised 9 street kids. If I were to tell you their history of abuse and neglect that started at infancy you would cry your eyes out. During the road they walked no one helped. Fortunately none of them became murderers but it's a miracle because one little nudge and any of them could have. Every child is born pure. Some adult in their lives (in some cases all the adults) screwed up and damaged them severely. We have millions to apprehend, incarcerate, try, convict and sentence but blindly hang on to the purse strings when young people desperately need help. When a child grows to become a criminal adult most of the time its our fault.

Sharon - posted on 09/18/2010

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If she wasn't so retarded that they needed to take her kids from her, then she wasn't retarded enough to be excused from being held accountable for her part in these crimes.

the only unfair bit to this story is that the men aren't also going to be executed.

Tracey - posted on 09/18/2010

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Are suggesting that a person should not be punished if he or she can persuade others to do the crime for them?

Julie - posted on 09/18/2010

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Did you all catch tis line :"Two male co-conspirators -- the triggermen -- were given life in prison without parole."

WTF? If she gets executed, surely THEY must be executed as well. Why the double standard? Especially since THEY actually pulled the trigger! As for should she be executed at all, maybe. I don't know enough about the case, but I do believe evil/sociopathic people exist and that they aren't all beautiful and smart. Could she truly be "evil" and fully capable of this like the prosecution claims? Yes, just as much as she could merely be a "pawn" of the trigger men.

Either way, this case leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I doubt anyone will ever really know the truth except for those directly involved and whichever higher being you may believe in. The only thing certain in my mind, ALL the perpetrators of the crime get the SAME treatment.

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Jackie - posted on 09/24/2010

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Well, her case was appealed something like 7000 times and she still got the death penalty. If this case was looked over THAT many times by THAT many people and they ALL thought she should get the death penalty, then they all thought that she was mentally stable enough to orchestrate the murder. People don't just get served with that sentence for any run-of-the-mill crime. Most cases get life w/out parole but she probably got what was coming to her. As far as I know, she was executed last night.

Jessica - posted on 09/24/2010

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Your right that there may be sufficient reasonable doubt but because Shallenberger didn't sign the affidavit, it couldn't have been used as evidence in her case. Even though he said he manipulated her, he said it outside of the courtroom (to another lady friend of his which could indicate several factors to suggest it was he was lying/misleading about it) and without his signature, it couldn't have been used as legal evidence in the courtroom.

Now, from the links you gave, and what I have read, the judge sounded bias and a bit of a prick. He doesn't seem like an impartial judge in this situation and so it casts doubt on the sentence given.

Your right. The judicial system SHOULD be about proving offenders guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. And I honestly think she WAS guilty (see quote below).

When I read the article in the OP, given the information there, you really have no choice but to come to the conclusion that she was guilty.

Character witness statements suggest that was capable of masterminding it, I assume with the help of Shallenberger.

"Still, Grimes said, his investigation showed that Lewis took an active role in the plot, that she connived and manipulated everyone from her late husband to her lover to her children. From early on, he said, Lewis schemed several different ways to get the inheritance money. She helped plan an earlier plot to kill her husband that failed."

So even though we, as outsiders, can see a case for reasonable doubt, in the courtroom it is another matter. Given the evidence they had and were legally allowed to use there was no other alternative then to find her guilty of masterminding it.

Again, I don't think the death penalty should ever be used but she would have deserved life in prison.

Jodi - posted on 09/24/2010

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I think what I'm trying to say, Jessica, is that there is sufficient reasonable doubt that she was the mastermind of the murders that she should not have been executed, and that she should have received the same sentence as the two triggermen. Isn't that what the system is about (or shou;ld be anyway)? Reasonable doubt?

But then again, maybe life without parole is the greater punishment, who knows.......only someone who has served that sort of time could answer that question.

Jessica - posted on 09/24/2010

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Quoting Jodi-the prosecutor did not take her cooperation into account.

I don't understand this, as far as I am aware pretty much every other judge WOULD have taken this into account.

Quoting Jodi-The judge concluded that Teresa had been the mastermind of the crime largely because of a total lack of any meaningful evidence presented on her behalf at the sentencing hearing.

This is a fatal error on her lawyers part and should be taken into account should her family decide to investigate the case.

Quoting Jodi-I think that quote should have been enough to, at the very least, remove her from death row. But as I said, I am not a fan of the death penalty anyway. There is too much room for error

I agree with this. I, also, am not a fan of the death penalty. She should have got life in prison without parole. Unfortunately, the judicial system in America (no offense) is warped just by the simple fact that the death penalty is still in use. I'm not debating FOR her death, I'm just stating that she WAS guilty and that (like you have said) without much evidence to help her case she didn't have a chance against such a system.

Quoted from the CNN article in the OP-But Shallenberger, who committed suicide in 2006, refused to sign the affidavit and actually tore up and ate part of it.

That is why it wasn't taken into account. He didn't sign a confession and so it would not count as evidence in her favour.

Becky - posted on 09/23/2010

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I agree with Jodi. She may not have been in the mentally retarded range, but she was still "slow" and possibly very easily manipulated. It could have been made to look like she masterminded this, when in actually, she was manipulated into it.
I think she deserves punishment, definitely, but not death, and not a harsher punishment than the other 2.

Jodi - posted on 09/23/2010

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It appears it was the same judge who did the sentencing.

"Three Defendants – Only One Sentenced to Death. Even though Teresa confessed her role in the killings and identified Shallenberger and Fuller as the gunmen, the prosecutor did not take her cooperation into account. Instead, he sought the death penalty. The prosecutor struck a quick deal with one of the triggermen, Fuller, to recommend a life sentence for him in exchange for his cooperation. This led the judge to sentence the other triggerman, Shallenberger, to life in prison as well, because the judge thought it unfair that one triggerman should get the death penalty when the other received a life sentence.


The judge concluded that Teresa had been the mastermind of the crime largely because of a total lack of any meaningful evidence presented on her behalf at the sentencing hearing. The evidence of her disabilities was never fully investigated or presented to the judge by Teresa’s first attorneys. Both Shallenberger and Fuller have since admitted on several occasions that it was Shallenberger, not Teresa, who planned and led the murder plot. "

http://www.saveteresalewis.org/story.htm...

Jodi - posted on 09/23/2010

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Here is the article I read:
http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/mp/8004006/...

"The key piece of evidence they wanted considered was a letter from Shallenberger, who killed himself in jail in 2006, in which he claims full responsibility for the murder plot and suggests he pushed Lewis into it.

"From the moment I met her I knew she was someone who could be easily manipulated," he allegedly wrote. "Killing Julian and Charles Lewis was entirely my idea. I needed money, and Teresa was an easy target."

I think that quote should have been enough to, at the very least, remove her from death row. But as I said, I am not a fan of the death penalty anyway. There is too much room for error.

[deleted account]

If it was one trial for all 3, then I think all 3 should have recieved equal sentences. I'm wondering (the article wasn't clear) if they all had seperate trials? I mean, that would explain why her punishment was more severe. If you have 3 defendants, 3 trials, 3 seperate judges and juries....you could easily get 3 different outcomes (in this case two were the same and one is much harsher). But you know what I mean? 3 trials would explain why her sentence was different. But definitely if they were tried together, they should have all gotten the same punishment.

Jodi - posted on 09/23/2010

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"Her IQ doesn't matter in this situation. She plead guilty and the courts found her to be in a reasonable mentality and frame of mind to know right from wrong. She got a more severe punishment because she masterminded it and the other two were basically puppets for her play. "

My point was, Jessica, is that it is unlikely that she masterminded it at all. Have you read the part about how one of the men has already suicided and supposedly left a note saying *why* he manipulated her? I actually don't agree that she was the *true* mastermind of the entire operation. I agree she absolutely should be punished, because she knows right from wrong, but I do NOT agree that she was the only one who plotted this thing. I do NOT agree that they were only puppets.

[deleted account]

I think they all deserve the same treatment (or lack there of), not just her. I am not in favor of the death penalty UNLESS it is for a serial killer, a rapist or child molester. She is no serial killer and should just rot in prison like the the other 2. This is a stupid decision especially that from the article she is as dumb as a bunch of bricks.

Dana - posted on 09/23/2010

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I'm not sure that I buy that every child is born pure though. It would be nice to believe but, is it true, I don't think so.

Katherine - posted on 09/23/2010

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That's actually a very good point Eronne. Somewhere, somehow they did lose their way and either no one noticed or no one cared.

Jessica - posted on 09/23/2010

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Quoting Jodi-The article I read (which was a different one) said that the men pled guilty too.....so I don't understand why they did not receive the death penalty and she did, especially as it appears she has an IQ of around 70

Her IQ doesn't matter in this situation. She plead guilty and the courts found her to be in a reasonable mentality and frame of mind to know right from wrong. She got a more severe punishment because she masterminded it and the other two were basically puppets for her play. Yes, they pulled the trigger, hence the life sentence. But SHE masterminded it and it wasn't the first time she had plotted to kill them. Factors surrounding her marriage, familial relationship and affair would have been taken into account. If she wasn't there/hadn't masterminded it, it never would have happened. THAT is why she got a harsher punishment which IMO is completely fair.

JuLeah - posted on 09/23/2010

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The whole system needs an overhaule. we are known for locking the barn door after all the horses have run off. Jail, execution, punishment after the fact ..... we have been doing this forever with the same results.
This, like most crimes, could have been pervented.
Had people been paying attention and taking action, it never would have reached that point.
Killing her now won't change anything, but paying attention to our children .... that might actually make some kind of difference in 20 years time.

Jodi - posted on 09/23/2010

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The article I read (which was a different one) said that the men pled guilty too.....so I don't understand why they did not receive the death penalty and she did, especially as it appears she has an IQ of around 70.



Quite honestly, I am not a fan of the death penalty anyway. Too much room for error. I am pretty sure that for every innocent person who manages to be exonerated, there are 3 or 4 put to death (obviously I have no stats, but I think it goes without saying). So I am probably not one to give a very unbiased opinion.



BUT, I think either ALL of then deserve it (they all admitted it) or none of them. Evidently, however, they were different trials and different juries.

Rosie - posted on 09/18/2010

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the only thing unfair about this is that the others didn't get the death penalty. i feel they should all get the same punishment, and since i'm all for the death penalty seems like a great solution to a waste of skin.

[deleted account]

Even if she's as guilty of sin and has full understanding of her crime, I still wouldn't condone her execution. I'm not morally against the death penalty, but I'm legally against it being imposed by the government for too many reasons to list in one evening. There is no such thing as a fair death penalty in the American justice system. It's discusting.

Cassie - posted on 09/18/2010

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I really don't believe the death penalty should even be used anymore. I honestly don't believe any person or group of people should have the ability to legally end the life of another. Even though this woman plead guilty and admitted that she had masterminded this plot, I believe that she should be given life in prison without the chance of parole.

While I believe that a clear cut case like this, where the accused admits guilt under oath, is a cut and dry case where the death penalty could safely be applied without worry of killing an innocent person, it is too risky overall. There are too many chances that the court system can get it wrong and an innocent life would be taken. Until there is a 100% fool-proof way of identifying the guilty from the innocent in ALL cases, I don't support the death penalty.

[deleted account]

I don't think her gender should have anything to do with her treatment, she murdered her husband and his son, she may not have pulled the trigger but she certainly masterminded it (from the information I seen) and that makes her AS guilty as the 2 men who actually pulled the trigger. They should all have the same punishment.

I believe that punishment should have been life with no parole for ALL 3 of them as I am against the death penalty, and the quote an eye for an eye really bugs me because as Ghandi said an eye for an eye, we will all soon be blind! We should not punish an action by commiting the same action.

Eronne - posted on 09/18/2010

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The whole concept of society creating advanced systems to kill someone amazes me. As does the faith some people put in their government by allowing them to kill. I don't trust any group of people with that power. I remember explaining to my children that whatever they do if they are honest, truly repent and change, they can move on. In death penalty areas this is not true. Revenge becomes more important then understanding.
There are some truly evil people in the world and we need to be protected from them forever but we need to believe that the ones that aren't evil can change. If murder is wrong, then giving the government the power to murder doesn't make it right. Thou shalt not kill.

Dana - posted on 09/18/2010

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Yes, it's fair. She plead guilty, which is probably why she got the death penalty and they didn't.

Nikki - posted on 09/18/2010

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I just can't believe you guys still have the death penalty in this day and age, it's just so backwards.

Lyndsay - posted on 09/18/2010

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In cases like this, I think they should all be punished equally. If she's getting death then the ones who pulled the trigger should get death too.

Petra - posted on 09/18/2010

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Absolutely not - but someone plots a crime and someone else carries it out and the one with the more severe punishment is the one who didn't actually carry it out - this just doesn't make sense to me. I am strongly opposed to the death penalty, though I would fully support a life sentence for all involved in this case. I just don't see why she is being killed while the ones who actually did the killing are not - and this is what some people deem to be justice.

Jessica - posted on 09/18/2010

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I think the reason the guys got life instead of the death penalty is because Lewis planned it. They wouldn't have done it if she hadn't convinced them/plotted with them. That would work in their favour if their lawyer spun it right and significantly against her.

Jessica - posted on 09/18/2010

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She instigated and plotted the murders. It was pre-meditated and not even the first time she had tried to kill them. The only reason this is making the papers and the only reason people are in an uproar about it is because she is female. She WAS mentally capable of plotting this. If the court had found otherwise then she wouldn't be on death row would she. Planning and instigating murder is equal to pulling the trigger in my opinion and by legal definition. She doesn't deserve anybodys sympathy. If she had truly loved these men as she claims, then she wouldn't have been having an affair and she wouldn't have planned and taken an ACTIVE role (because she did have an active role by leaving the front door open for them) in their murders.

Saying that, I don't think the death penalty should be used EVER. There is no 100% guarentee that you have convicted the right person and until there is, it shouldn't be used. Even then I don't know if I would support it.

Petra - posted on 09/18/2010

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I think there are a lot of ridiculous things about this. Why is there so much emphasis on her gender? Why are those who actually murdered the victims being granted more leniency? I think the death penalty is the most hypocritical punishment in the legal system and seeing it put to use in this situation makes me want to barf. An eye for an eye my ass. You kill someone, its wrong to kill, but we get to kill you, even if you didn't kill someone but got someone else to, we still get to kill you... where the eff is the logic in this? And if it is reserved for only the worst offenders... why are the guys willing to kill for a few bucks not being subjected to it while the possibly retarded woman who did not do the deed is? Why are religious quotes being tossed around by the authorities? How come the grossly obvious double standard is not being questioned more? I think capital punishment is wrong and seeing it used in instances like this only reinforces my opinion that it is an archaic practice that is NEVER the right punishment for a crime, no matter how perverse or "evil".

[deleted account]

I am not really for the death penalty at all but in this case i think the woman should get death not the men.I think if it wasnt for this woman those men wouldnt be dead..those men killed them but because of LEWIS.She took the easy way out and now shes being punished fairly i believe..i would give her life in jail as i said not in favour of the death penalty..eye for an eye etc but i think this is fair personally.

C. - posted on 09/18/2010

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I know, Katherine.. That's the only thing I don't think is fair. But at the same time, did she deserve the death penalty based on her crime? Yes.

Joann - posted on 09/17/2010

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its hard to really know because we were there during all of this but i mean she was not the one that pulled the trigger she should get life in prison and the ones that pulled the trigger should get death.she even said she was sorry and if she could change it she would. i think she is guilty but i dont think she should get the death penalty

C. - posted on 09/17/2010

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She helped plot the murders, that makes her just as guilty as if she had been the one to actually pull the trigger.

I am on the fence about this one a little bit, but I have to say I'm leaning more the other way. I think she should be executed, but I also think the other two should have been executed as well (although one now, b/c they said the one guy committed suicide in prison). That's the only unfair thing I can see so far, is that they got life in prison and she's the only one being executed. But I do think she deserves it and I do think she purposely failed the IQ test.

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