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I found this in some of Teresa Lewis's court appeals:

"Cognitive testing showed a Full Scale IQ of 72. Verbal IQ was 70, and Performance IQ was 79. This places the defendant in the borderline range of mental retardation (Borderline Intellectual Function)."

What does this mean? Does it mean that a retarded person is held as accountable for thier actions as a mentally capable person? I hope not. I dont like that idea. I have a cousin who I dearly love but who just isnt wrapped to tight. She once shop lifted about $300 worth of antiques from an auction house. The thought of her having to be held responsible for some of the things she does scares me.

A person with an IQ of 70 or lower is generally considered mentally retarded and ineligible for execution under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year.


  1. Hello,
    I've been writing Teresa on death row for several years. I, too, am very concerned about her IQ. It's obvious she is "Young Minded". I have shared her letters with her attorney to let him see this for himself. (he's a wonderful man by the way). Thank you about being concerned about Teresa's welfare. She's a lovely person.

  2. I've been writing Teresa on Va. Death Row for several years. I, too, am very concerned she will be executed despite her IQ bordering on mental retardation. She's a lovely person and I worry for her. Thank you for being concerned about her.

  3. I have been visiting with Teresa for about 5 years in person as her lay chaplain. She is obviously bordering on metal retardation and needs very basic things explained to her -- for example, although she was abused by her victim, she did not know to call it abuse -- so this information was not offered in court.

    Also, if the same crime were committed today, she would be ineligible for the death penalty because of the Triggerman rule. She did not pull the trigger so it seems to me life in prison is what she should be sentenced to. Is Virginia so anxious to continue killing people even if they are mentally challenged and would not qualify for the death penalty today?

  4. She killed two people as sure as if she pulled the trigger herself. She wasn't abused by her husband or her stepson. I know I am the only family left of the deceased. She was treated like a queen and cherished. What other reasons does she have for this crime? Why is it hard to believe that she is guilty? She is! She plead guilty and was found guilty!!

  5. The role Teresa played in the deaths of your father and brother is horrible of course. She did an unconscionable thing and deserves to be punished; and I cannot imagine how you feel. I think my only points are that Teresa is borderline incompetent; that her plea of guilty (without a deal or a trial)allowed the judge alone to condemn her; and that the same crime now would incarcerate her for life (which she deserves)rather than execute her. She has used her life in prison for good and your father and brother never had that chance. Killing her will never really ease your pain or redeem their lives -- if it would, I too would feel differently. I really would.

  6. I have been writing Teresa for a few months. I wrote to her after a friend was asked by the Chaplain if she knew of a potential penpal for her. I am against the death penalty and I do not want the Commonwealth to kill someone for me. If you want to punish someone, keep them locked up for the rest of their life.

  7. She claims to have been abused by one of her victims, I am guessing my father. That is a bald faced lie. He never laid a hand on her. She was given everything that she could have wanted. She claimed to be a prisoner in her own home, well you actually have to stay home in order to be a prisoner!! She was her own worst enemy when it came trial time. She made sure that pleading guilty would save her. She didn't show any remorse until she was sentenced. Then she was sorry - for herself.
    Of course she is playing slow and borderline mental retardation now, but you should have known her before she was placed in prison.
    There is no way that you could know the hell that she put my father through while he laid helpless on the floor of his bedroom and listened to his son being killed while he was bleeding to death. With no one to hold his hand and tell him that he was loved. My brother's baby girl is growing up without knowing her father. Teresa used her own child to get what she wanted as well as the triggermen that she admitted she manipulated and planned to get rid of. These are not the actions of a slow, retarded person. She was extremely careful and planned everything down to the last detail. That is why she deserves what her sentence is. And I pray that when her time comes that God will have mercy on her cold, black soul.

  8. She wasn't retarded or borderline retarded until after she entered death row.

    Dr. Hagan provided examples of Lewis’ “adaptive functioning,” which he stated supported his conclusion that Lewis was not mentally retarded. Dr. Hagan noted that Lewis had never failed a grade level at school, and had not been terminated from any job due to an inability to understand her employment duties. Lewis also had demonstrated the conceptual ability to respond and attend to her parents’ needs, and she had successfully completed a certified nursing assistant program at a local community college. In addition, Dr. Hagan reported that Lewis was a “prolific” writer during her incarceration, frequently sending letters to various “pen pals” and trial counsel.


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