1,200 executions in US since 1976. Ahmadinejad rightly accuses the US of hypocrisy

US grandmother to be executed for murder of husband and stepson.

A grandmother with an IQ of 72 is to become the first woman to be executed in Virginia in nearly a century after the United States Supreme Court dismissed a last ditch appeal.

By Nick Allen, Los Angeles
Published: 6:03PM BST 22 Sep 2010

Teresa Lewis is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection September
23 for plotting to have her husband and stepson killed in 2002: Virginia to execute first woman for a century

Teresa Lewis, 41, was sentenced to death for commissioning two men to shoot her husband and stepson so she could collect a $250,000 (£160,000) insurance pay out.

The two gunmen received life jail terms in America but Lewis was sentenced to die because she was said to be the “mastermind” behind the plot.

Death penalty abolitionists have taken up her cause arguing her low IQ puts her in the “borderline range” of mental capability. They claimed her accomplices had taken advantage of by her, and that she suffered a ‘dependent personality disorder’ and an addiction to prescription drugs.

In her final appeal two of the three women on the Supreme Court, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, voted to stop the execution but the court as a whole refused to intervene. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell refused clemency last week.

Barring an unexpected last-minute reprieve Lewis will die by lethal injection at Greensville Correction Centre, nicknamed “Hellville,” on Thursday night.

In an interview with a local television station she sang gospel hymns and said she was “going back to Jesus.” She said: “I hope that something is going to turn around. If I have to go home with Jesus, I know that’s going to be the best thing.

“I don’t think there’s enough words to even begin to tell her how sorry I am. I want people to know that you can be a good person and make the wrong choice.”

For her last meal Lewis requested two chicken breasts, sweet peas with butter, a German cake or apple pie, and Dr Pepper to drink.

Supporters posted a recording of her singing gospel hymn I Need a Miracle on the internet.

The last execution of a woman in the US was in 2005 when Frances Newton, 40, died by lethal injection in Texas for the murder of her family. But the state of Virginia last executed a woman in 1912 when 17-year-old Virginia Christian died in the electric chair for suffocating her employer.

Of more than 1,200 executions since capital punishment was reinstated in the US in 1976, only 11 have been women.

Lewis pleaded guilty in May 2003 to persuading Matthew Shallenberger and Rodney Fuller, two men she met in a supermarket, to shoot her husband Julian Lewis, 51, and stepson, Charles Lewis, 25.

She had begun an affair with Shallenberger, who was 22, and encouraged her 16-year-old daughter to get together with Fuller, who was 19.

On October 30, 2002 Lewis left open the door of the family trailer for the two men to enter and stood by while the victims were shot. Lewis then rummaged through her dying husband’s pockets.

Her lawyer James E Rocap claimed Shallenberger, who had an IQ of 113, duped Lewis “into believing he loved her so that he could achieve his own selfish goals.” Before killing himself in 2006 Shallenberger wrote a letter in which he said the plot was “entirely” his idea.

He wrote: “From the moment I met her I knew she was someone who could be easily manipulated.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accused the US of double standards for allowing Lewis’s execution to go ahead while criticising his country for sentencing a woman to be stoned to death for adultery.