A U.S. woman has been put to death by lethal injection in Virginia, the first woman executed in the state for nearly a century, prompting outrage from anti-death penalty campaigners. Teresa Lewis (41) was convicted of masterminding the murders of her husband and step-son.

Death penalty abolitionists had championed Ms. Lewis's case, insisting she had diminished mental faculties and that smarter accomplices had taken advantage of her.

“This execution means that the system is broken,” said her lawyer James Rocap after the execution.

Jack Payden-Travers of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty described the execution as “legal homicide. Nothing more than a legal lynching”.

Ms. Lewis, who had an IQ of about 70, “was calm, she seemed very resolute” as she walked into the death room, said a jail official. The press pool, however, said “she looked scared, nervous”.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down Ms. Lewis's appeal for a stay of execution and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell did not intervene.

Outside the prison, a group of death penalty opponents rang a bell and prayed as Ms. Lewis went to her death. “What kind of people are we to execute someone like her?” cried a campaigner.

“She didn't pull the trigger, and she was mentally challenged,” she insisted to AFP.

Ms. Lewis is the first woman prisoner executed in the southern state since 1912.—

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