Supreme Court refuses to intervene over death penalty for double-killer

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The Independent US

A woman convicted of organising two contract killings is scheduled to die by injection today after the US Supreme Court refused to block her execution. She will be the first woman put to death in Virginia in nearly a century.

Teresa Lewis, 41, was sentenced to death for providing sex and money to two men to kill her husband and stepson in October 2002 so she could collect on a $250,000 insurance payout. The country's top court refused to intervene. Two of the three women on the court, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, voted to stop the execution. The court did not otherwise comment on its order.

The court's decision followed state Governor Bob McDonnell's refusal to reconsider a clemency request, which he rejected Friday.

"A good and decent person is about to lose her life because of a system that is broken," said attorney James E Rocap III, who represents Lewis. He said he was referring to the decision by the Supreme Court and McDonnell's rejection of clemency.

Mr Rocap appealed to Gov McDonnell on Tuesday to reconsider his decision to deny clemency to Lewis, and said new evidence should spare her the death penalty. Rocap argued that one of the gunmen later claimed he manipulated Lewis, who has a learning disability, "to dupe her into believing he loved her so that he could achieve his own selfish goals".