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JARRATT, Va. (AP) — Teresa Lewis spent the last days before her execution as she had spent one side of her life — singing hymns and praying. That devotion to Christianity, by her own admission, was countered by outrageous bouts of sex and betrayal.
That dark side led her life to a deadly turn in 2002 when she plied two men with sex and cash to kill her husband and stepson to collect on a $250,000 insurance policy. For that, the 41-year-old on Thursday was the first woman put to death in the U.S. since 2005 — and just the 11th since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 — in a case that generated international appeals and rebukes.
Lewis died by injection at 9:13 p.m., apologizing first to the sole surviving daughter of the husband she had killed. She was the first woman in Virginia since 1912 put to death. Her supporters and relatives of the victims watched her execution at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt.
“She was very peaceful,” before she entered the death chamber, said her attorney, James Rocap III.
“We thought that we were supposed to be helping her, while she was actually helping us,” he said about the days leading to her death during which she laughed, sang and prayed — for everybody.
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