Christa Pike: Biography, Crimes, and Legal Proceedings

Discover the chilling story of Christa Pike, the youngest woman sentenced to death in the United States, and the eerie details that led to her notorious conviction.


In July 1995, Christa Pike, then 18, engaged in an act that shocked many across the nation. Pike, alongside her then-boyfriend Tadaryl Shipp and friend Shadolla Peterson, planned and executed the murder of fellow Job Corps student Colleen Slemmer. The crime was marked by its brutality and the alleged motives—rivalry and jealousy over attention from a male peer.

Pike lured Slemmer to a secluded wooded area near the University of Tennessee campus, under the guise of making peace. However, the meeting turned violent. Slemmer was subjected to an hour-long attack involving cutting and smashing her skull with asphalt chunks and a meat cleaver. Shockingly, Pike kept a piece of Slemmer’s skull as a trophy, which later played a crucial role in the criminal investigation.

The murder stands out for its sheer savagery and the young age of everyone involved, raising questions about youth violence and psychological health in stressful environments like the Job Corps program.


Christa Pike, at the tender age of 20, found herself in the throes of a high-profile trial that gripped public attention. She was accused of the brutal murder of Colleen Slemmer, with events unfolding into a narrative filled with jealousy and rivalry. The legal proceedings began in 1996, approximately a year after the crime occurred. Pike’s defense hinged on her troubled past and mental health issues, attempting to provide context to her actions.

The prosecution, however, presented a challenging case, backed by tangible evidence including a concrete chunk used in the attack and Pike’s own confessions. The jury, finding the evidence irrefutable, convicted Pike, making her the youngest woman on death row at that time. Throughout, the courtroom dynamics were intense, showcasing a mix of emotional testimonies and stark legal debates. This trial not only highlighted the legal ramifications of Pike’s actions but also stirred conversations about youth and accountability in the justice system.

Scheduled Execution

Christa Pike, the only woman currently on Tennessee’s death row, is approaching a date with destiny that might seem straight out of a grim Hollywood script. Pike was originally sentenced back in 1996 for the murder of a fellow job corps student. The wheels of justice grind slowly and, with various appeals and motions postponing the inevitable, her final day has been penciled in more than once.

Now, with legal options dwindling, the complex machinery of the death penalty swings into motion again. For those keeping track, setting an execution date involves various legal and bureaucratic steps, including final appeals and the governor’s potential review. Each stage is crucial, ensuring every ‘i’ is dotted in the long, painstaking process that underscores the gravity of the sentence handed down.

So, mark your calendars (but maybe use a pencil), as the scheduled execution is always subject to change, much like a rain-delayed baseball game. With Pike’s case, history teaches to expect the unexpected.