Governor McDonnell to Announce Fate of Woman on Death Row
Friday, September 17, 2010
RICHMOND, Va. - Gov. McDonnell is expected to announce very soon whether or not he will commute the sentence of Teresa Wright, a woman who has been on Virginia's death row since pleading guilty to hiring two men to kill her husband and stepson for their life insurance money in October of 2002.
The Rev. Lynne Litchfield served as prison chaplain at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, where Wright has been held. She says the case may seem pretty cut-and-dried, but evidence gathered since Wright's conviction - such as her low IQ score (that of a 12-year-old) and a confession by one of the gunmen - show that her life should be spared.
"I think it's an unjust sentence now that we have letters from Matthew Shallenberger saying that he was clearly the mastermind of this, and we have affidavits from people that say Teresa was not the one in control, Mathew Shallenberger was."
Rev. Litchfield says that Wright has been remorseful in prison and has shown exemplary behavior. Proponents of her execution have cited that Wright allowed the murders to take place, but the Rev. Litchfield says an execution will not bring the victims back.
"If Teresa's execution takes place, our world will not be safer, our world will not be any better. In fact, I think it will be a little bit worse: This heinous crime will have cost one more life."
Both gunmen in the case were given life in prison, while Wright was given the death penalty. Litchfield believes Wright did not have the mental capacity to properly represent herself at the time of her conviction.
Stacey Johnson with Gov. McDonnell's office stated Thursday that the Governor will announce his decision today or by Saturday at the latest. Wright is scheduled to be executed on Sept. 23.
Wright is the only woman on death row in Virginia. If she is executed, she will be the first female to die by capital punishment in the state in nearly a century.
get more stories like this via email
Groups working to curb climate change said a Supreme Court ruling limiting the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control carbon …
Government labels on meat products that say "humane" or "raised in a stress-free environment" are meaningless, according to some animal-rights groups…
A new report found when high school students enroll in early college programs, it improves the chances they will go on to college after graduation…
As hurricane season kicks into full gear, Pennsylvania officials are reflecting on the impacts of Hurricane Agnes 50 years ago, and urging property …
Health and Wellness
Texas is home to one in 10 Americans of reproductive age, and mandated births due to the state's abortion ban will increase the number of maternal …
Community health centers are calling on state and federal lawmakers for added protections against drug manufactures for drastically cutting them out o…
The futures of tourism, wildlife and ranching in Mono County are now at the mercy of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power - according to …
Coming off a string of controversial opinions, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a case tied to oversight of federal elections…