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Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell won't stay execution of Teresa Lewis

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The Rev. Lynn Litchfield, former chaplain at Virginia's Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, is among the people trying to convince Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) to spare the life of a woman facing execution on Sept. 23.

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In recent weeks, Lewis's attorneys and supporters contend that evidence that emerged after the sentencing shows that Shallenberger, who has since committed suicide, was the true mastermind. He bragged to a former girlfriend that he used Lewis and wanted the insurance money so he could move to New York and deal drugs. Lewis's IQ puts her just above the legal definition of mental retardation, and Shallenberger was much more intelligent.

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Before the decision was announced, McDonnell said he considered arguments about Lewis's mental capacity and the fact that both gunmen were sentenced to life. "The test for me really is: . . . Is there anything that would be a miscarriage of justice in letting the execution go forward?"

Kathy Clifton, Julian Lewis's daughter and C.J. Lewis's sister, has not said whether she thinks Lewis should be executed for her crimes. She said that decision rests in the hands of the courts and the governor.

"I don't hate Teresa," Clifton said. "I forgive her. I've had to because if I hadn't it would have killed me."

No woman has been executed in Virginia since 1912, when Virginia Christian, 17, was electrocuted for the murder of her employer, Ida Belote. The two fought after Belote accused Christian of stealing a gold locket, accounts at the time said.

Glod reported from Washington.


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