Friday, 24 September 2010

The Execution of Teresa Lewis

I was one of many thousands of people around the world who e-mailed Governor Bob McDonnell in a last-minute appeal for clemency for Teresa Lewis. Our appeals were in vain:

Wearing prison-issue denim trousers and shirt, she walked the 10 steps from her cell to the execution chamber, where five warders strapped her to a hospital trolley. Witnesses said she looked terrified.

Kathy Clifton, Lewis's stepdaughter, was in an adjoining witness room, blocked from view by a two-way mirror. The families of the victims were also present.

A prison warder held up a phone to the governor's office, in case of a last-minute decision to offer clemency.

Asked if she wanted to make a last statement, Lewis said: "I want Kathy to know I love you and I am very sorry." The executioners, dressed in black, with all identifying tags removed and hidden behind a curtain, released a sedative and a lethal dose.

Lewis was pronounced dead within six minutes of delivering her final statement.
(You can read the rest of that article here).

Here are the texts of the messages I sent to Governor McDonnell:

Thursday, 23rd September
Dear Governor McDonnell,

I can understand that people are gravely concerned about the murder of Teresa Lewis's husband and stepson by Matthew Shallenberger and his associate. However, many of us following this case find it impossible to understand how this damaged and confused woman will be put to death for a crime for which it seems she is incapable of bearing full responsibility. The eyes of the world are on you today. I urge you Governor McDonnell, to show yourself a man who understands mercy as well as justice, and who even at this late hour is willing to ensure that a most grave injustice is not carried out in the state of Virginia. Many of us look to the United States as an example to inspire others. Please do not let us down. It is not too late.
Friday, 24th September
Like Teresa Lewis, you too will one day stand before the throne of judgement. I hope that God shows greater mercy than you yourself have done. In the meantime, the state of Virginia has brought shame on your country. Those of us who would never otherwise have heard of you at all, will now always remember you for this one thing. I pity you more than Lewis, for she has peace. I wonder if you will ever have real peace again?

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