- Venue: Pittsylvania County.
- Capital murder of Charles J. Lewis (murder for hire).
- Capital murder of Julian Clifton Lewis, Jr. (murder for hire).
- Conspiracy to commit capital murder.
- Robbery of Julian Clifton Lewis, Jr.
- Use of a firearm to commit the murder of Julian Clifton Lewis, Jr.
- Use of a firearm to commit the murder of Charles J. Lewis.
- Use of a firearm to commit the robbery of Julian Clifton Lewis, Jr.
- Status: Executed by lethal injection on September 23, 2010.
Summary of crime:
From Lewis v. Commonwealth [emphasis mine throughout]:
Julian Clifton Lewis, Jr., had been employed for several years by Dan River, Inc. His first wife, who had been ill for a long time, died in January 2000. In March or April 2000, Julian Lewis met the defendant [Teresa Wilson Bean Lewis], who was also employed by Dan River. The defendant began to live with Julian Lewis at his home in Danville in June 2000. Subsequently, Julian Lewis married the defendant.
In December 2001, Julian Lewis’ older son, Jason Clifton Lewis, died in a car accident. Julian Lewis was the beneficiary of his son’s life insurance policy, and Julian Lewis received proceeds in excess of $ 200,000. He placed those proceeds in a draft account with Prudential Securities, Inc. The proceeds of the account were accessible only by use of drafts bearing the signature of Julian Lewis.
In February 2002, Julian Lewis purchased a five-acre parcel of land in Pittsylvania County. He also purchased a mobile home and placed it on the property, where he and the defendant resided.
In August 2002, Julian Lewis’ younger son, Charles J. Lewis, an Army reservist, was required to report for active duty with the National Guard in Maryland. According to Lieutenant Michael Booker, Charles Lewis’ commanding officer, Lewis made estate arrangements in the event he died while on active duty. Charles Lewis executed a will and identified his father as his primary beneficiary and his stepmother, the defendant, as the secondary beneficiary. Charles Lewis obtained a policy of life insurance in the amount of $ 250,000 payable in the event of his death. He designated his father as the primary beneficiary of the life insurance policy and the defendant as the secondary beneficiary.
In the autumn of 2002, Rodney L. Fuller and Matthew J. Shallenberger met the defendant at a retail store. Prior to this meeting, the defendant did not know these men. After a conversation, Shallenberger and the defendant exchanged telephone numbers and began to communicate frequently. Shallenberger and the defendant discussed the possibility that Shallenberger, with Fuller’s help, would kill Julian Lewis, and they would share any insurance proceeds that the defendant might receive.
One day, the defendant and her 16-year-old daughter, Christie Bean, met Shallenberger and Fuller at a parking lot in Danville. Christie, who had never met Fuller previously, had sexual intercourse with him in one car while the defendant and Shallenberger engaged in sexual intercourse in another vehicle. On a later date, Fuller and Shallenberger went to the defendant’s home where she performed a “lingerie show” for the men, and she had sexual intercourse with both men.
On October 23, 2002, the defendant met Shallenberger and Fuller at a shopping center in Danville. The defendant went to a bank and obtained $ 1,200 in cash that she gave to the men to use to purchase firearms and ammunition to kill Julian Lewis. Antwain D. Bennett, an acquaintance of Shallenberger, used the money to purchase three firearms. Two of the firearms were shotguns. Additionally, Bennett purchased ammunition for the weapons.
On that same date, the defendant told Shallenberger and Fuller the route that Julian Lewis traveled from his place of employment to his home. The men planned to kill Julian Lewis and “make the murder . . . look like a robbery.” While the defendant remained at her home, the men were “to follow and stop Julian Lewis on the highway and kill him.” The plan, however, was unsuccessful.
Consequently, the defendant, Shallenberger, and Fuller decided to kill Julian Lewis at his home on October 30, 2002. They also decided to kill his son, Charles Lewis, when he returned to Virginia to attend his father’s funeral and share the proceeds from Charles Lewis’ policy of life insurance. However, when the conspirators learned that Charles Lewis would be with his father at the mobile home on October 30, 2002, they decided to kill him and his father simultaneously.
During the early morning of October 30, 2002, Shallenberger and Fuller drove a vehicle past the Lewis’ home about three times. The men did not stop their vehicle because they observed that lights were on in the home. Eventually, Shallenberger and Fuller entered the residence through a rear door that the defendant had unlocked. Each man carried one of the shotguns that had been purchased with the $ 1,200 cash the defendant had given them. Shallenberger and Fuller awakened the defendant, who was in bed with her husband. Shallenberger told the defendant, “Teresa, get up.” The defendant got out of her bed and walked into the kitchen, and she heard gunshots. Shallenberger shot Julian Lewis several times. The defendant went to the bedroom where her husband lay bleeding, retrieved Julian Lewis’ pants and wallet, and returned to the kitchen with Shallenberger.
Fuller entered a room that was occupied by Charles Lewis. Fuller shot Charles Lewis three times. Then Fuller went to the kitchen where he observed the defendant and Shallenberger “pulling money from a wallet.” Fuller told the defendant and Shallenberger that Charles Lewis “wouldn’t die.” Fuller got Shallenberger’s shotgun and returned to the bedroom occupied by Charles Lewis where Fuller shot him two more times. The men retrieved most of the shotgun shells, and they divided $ 300 in cash that had been taken from Julian Lewis’ wallet.
After shooting the victims, Shallenberger told the defendant that he was sorry she “had to go through something like this; hugged her and kissed her; and the men left.” The defendant waited about 45 minutes after the “last shot was fired,” and she made a telephone call to her former mother-in-law, Marie Bean. Next, she made a telephone call to her best friend, Debbie Yeatts.
On Wednesday morning, October 30, 2002, approximately 3:55 a.m., the defendant placed a telephone call to emergency response personnel in Pittsylvania County. She reported that an intruder had entered her home and shot her husband and his adult son. She stated that both men were dead. She said that she had been in the bed with her husband when an intruder armed with a pistol entered her bedroom and said, “Get up.” Her husband told her to go into the bathroom, and her husband asked the intruder, “What’s going on?” The defendant said that her husband was shot four or five times while she was in the bathroom. She reported that the shooting had occurred at 3:15 or 3:30 a.m.
Sheriff deputies Harris Silverman and Corey Webb arrived at the murder scene at approximately 4:18 a.m., 23 minutes after the defendant made the telephone call to the emergency response personnel. The deputies met the defendant at the front door of her home, and she stated that her husband’s body was on the floor in one bedroom and that her stepson’s body was in another bedroom. When Deputy Webb entered the master bedroom, he learned that Julian Lewis was alive. Julian Lewis “made slow moans” and uttered, “Baby, baby, baby, baby. Deputy Webb asked the victim his name, and he responded, “Julian.” Deputy Webb asked Julian Lewis if he knew who had shot him, and the victim responded, “My wife knows who done this to me.”
While the deputies tried to assist the victims, Deputy Webb observed the defendant conversing on the telephone, and he heard her state, “I told C.J. [Charles Lewis] about leaving that back door unlocked.” Julian Lewis died in his residence. When Deputy Webb informed the defendant that her husband and stepson were dead, she did not appear upset.
Investigator J.T. Barrett of the Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the murder scene approximately 7:00 a.m. on October 30, 2002. Barrett interviewed the defendant twice. Investigator Keith N. Isom also interviewed the defendant. During one of the interviews, the defendant claimed that her husband had physically assaulted her a few days before his death, and she denied knowledge of her husband’s killer. She said that she would not kill her husband or have him killed.
Investigator Barrett asked the defendant what she and her husband did before they went to bed on the night of the murders. She said that she talked with her husband, and that they prayed together. She told her husband that she was going to pack his lunch, and he went to sleep. She prepared a lunch and placed it in the refrigerator. She wrote a note on the lunch bag that stated, “I love you. I hope you have a good day.” A picture of a “smiley face” was drawn on the bag and inscribed in the “smiley face” was the message, “I miss you when you’re gone.”
Mike Campbell, Lewis’ supervisor, testified that Julian Lewis did not use bags to bring his lunch to work. Rather, Julian Lewis took his lunch to work in a blue and white cooler.
Investigator Isom interviewed the defendant again on November 7, 2002. During this interview, the defendant admitted that she had offered Matthew Shallenberger money if he would kill her husband. After the interview, the defendant again spoke with Investigator Isom. The defendant told Isom that she had met her husband’s killer at a retail store and that he was from New York. The defendant stated that she had “let him in” her mobile home, and he shot both Julian Lewis and Charles Lewis, took some money, and left. She told the investigator that she had agreed to give Shallenberger half of the insurance proceeds that she expected to receive, but she changed her mind and decided to keep all the money. She informed the investigator of Shallenberger’s address, and Isom and the defendant went to Shallenberger’s residence where she identified him.
On November 8, 2002, the defendant, who was in the Danville City Jail, requested to speak with Investigator Isom. He interviewed her at the jail, and she told Isom that Rodney Fuller was also involved in the murders of her husband and stepson. The defendant also stated that her daughter had assisted with the murders. The defendant “acknowledged that after the shooting and after the men left the house [on the night of the murders], she had waited about thirty minutes to call 911.”
On the day of the murders, the defendant made a telephone call to Campbell and told him that her husband had been killed, and that she wanted his paycheck. Campbell informed the defendant that she could not retrieve the paycheck before 4:00 p.m. on that day. The next day, October 31, 2002, the defendant again called Campbell and asked for Julian Lewis’ paycheck. Campbell responded that he could not give the paycheck to her.
Lieutenant Michael Booker, Charles Lewis’ commanding officer, called the defendant to express his condolences early on the afternoon of October 30, 2002, the day of the murders. The defendant told him, “I’m still in shock. The police had me in Chatham today, all in my face. There is no way I would have killed my husband and stepson. They guessed that because I didn’t get shot that I might have done it. My husband told me to go into the bathroom, so I did.” The defendant informed Booker that she was the secondary beneficiary on the life insurance policy of Charles Lewis, and that she wanted the insurance proceeds.
On November 4, 2002, the defendant called Booker by telephone and left a message for him because he was not available. When Booker spoke to her later that day, the defendant asked him about Charles Lewis’ personal effects. Booker advised the defendant that she could not have them because she was not the beneficiary of Lewis’ estate. The defendant asked Booker whether she was still entitled to the life insurance proceeds in the amount of $ 250,000. Booker told the defendant that she was, and she responded, “Well, Kathy [Charles Lewis’ sister] can have all his stuff as long as I get the money.”
Before the murders, the defendant told a woman, Debbie Anderson, that the defendant was just “using Julian for money and that he would buy her things.” Bobby Demont, who had known Julian Lewis and the defendant for several years, heard the defendant say “a couple months before the murders” that if Julian died, “she would get the money, and if [Charles Lewis] was killed and Julian was dead, she would get that money, too.”
The defendant told Kathy L. Clifton, Julian Lewis’ daughter, that the defendant waited 45 minutes after the murders and then called her ex-mother-in-law, Marie Bean, and her best friend, Debbie Yeatts, before she “called 911 for help.” On the day of the victims’ funerals, the defendant told Kathy Clifton that the defendant had purchased a beautiful suit to wear to the funeral. The defendant asked Clifton, “You don’t think I had anything to do with this, do you?” The defendant also offered to sell the mobile home and land to Clifton. After the murders, but before the funeral, the defendant made a number of statements in Clifton’s presence to the effect that the defendant had ample money to pay for the funerals and that she would benefit financially because of the deaths of Julian Lewis and Charles Lewis.
After the murders, the defendant tried to withdraw $ 50,000 from Julian Lewis’ account with Prudential Securities. The defendant appeared at a bank and presented a check, purportedly signed by Julian Lewis and made payable to her in the amount of $ 50,000. A bank employee refused to negotiate the check because the signature on the check did not match Julian Lewis’ signature in the bank’s records.
The deputy sheriffs searched a mobile home where Matthew Shallenberger and Rodney Fuller resided. Two shotguns were recovered from the residence and delivered to a forensic science laboratory for analysis. The shotgun shells recovered from the room where Julian Lewis was murdered were fired by one of the shotguns recovered from the mobile home where Shallenberger and Fuller lived. The deputies also found two pairs of rubber household gloves in a closet in Shallenberger’s bedroom. Primer residue caused by the discharge of a firearm bullet or shell was present on the gloves.
Assistant Chief Medical Examiner Susan E. Venuti performed autopsies on the bodies of Julian Lewis and Charles Lewis. She determined that each man died as a direct result of multiple shotgun wounds. Julian Lewis suffered shotgun wounds to the upper left arm, shoulder, abdomen, pelvis, penis, thighs, legs, arms, and chest. The bullets destroyed or removed large areas of tissue in his upper arm, shoulder, and upper chest. The bullets also fractured several ribs. Plastic wadding from a shotgun shell was lodged in his left lung tissue. Julian Lewis eventually died from extensive blood loss.
Charles Lewis received a total of eight wounds from an undetermined number of discharges of a shotgun. He suffered wounds to his back, abdomen, chest, neck, left upper arm and shoulder, elbow, left thigh, face, and forearm.
- Lewis v. Commonwealth, 267 Va. 302, 593 S.E.2d 220 (2004). [↩]
- Lewis v. Commonwealth, 267 Va. 302, 304, 593 S.E.2d 220, 221 (2004). [↩] [↩] [↩] [↩] [↩] [↩] [↩] [↩] [↩]
- Maria Glod. “Va. woman executed for slayings in 2002.” The Washington Post 24 Sept. 2010. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/23/AR2010092306866.html>. [↩]
- Lewis v. Commonwealth, 267 Va. 302, 305-311, 593 S.E.2d 220, 222-225 (2004). [↩]