Teresa Lewis, aged 41, was the first woman to be executed in the State of Virginia in nearly a century. Two questions arise from this particular death sentence. Firstly, was Lewis ’crime so bad that she deserved to die, as she didn’t actually pull the trigger? Secondly, the decision to end her life was based on her intelligence level. Is it really fair to decide to kill somebody depending on their IQ level?
Teresa Lewis arranged for two men to kill her husband and stepson after her stepson, who was a soldier, took out a huge life insurance policy. Lewis horrendously agreed to give the hitmen her 16 year old daughter as a sex prize, agreed to go to bed herself with them as well, and also paid them some money. She told them they could have more money when she got the life insurance policy from her dead stepson. Lewis was given the death penalty because, even though she didn’t actually fire the gun, she watched her husband die for an hour, taking money out of his pockets and not calling for help. Therefore, the judges decided that Lewis’ crime was that bad because she was responsible for the death of her husband and stepson.
If someone is wicked enough to commit a premeditated murder, is it important how intelligent they are? Before deciding to give her the death penalty, the court gave Lewis an IQ test because some people were concerned that Lewis was mentally retarded. Lewis scored 72 points which means she missed being mentally retarded by only 2 points. How fair is such a test? Being mentally retarded is such a broad issue. Someone capable of scheming to plan a murder could lie on the tests to look more stupid than they really are. Lewis was not clever enough to do this, but also she was in control of her emotion enough to watch a man die without panicking and IQ tests do not measure emotional or psychological status, they only measure mathematical and linguistic abilities.
Civil rights activists complained that Lewis was sentenced to death when the men who actually killed her husband and his son, were given life in prison. These men have chosen to make a career out of killing people, and so aren’t they as guilty as Lewis? But where does the chain of guilt stop? Are the judges who decide to kill people any different?
Source: Huffington Post