Judge refuses to overturn Christa Pike's death sentence

AP News
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Posted: Mar 11, 2016 11:55 AM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge has refused to overturn the death sentence for Christa Gail Pike, Tennessee's only female condemned prisoner.

In a written ruling issued on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Harry S. Mattice Jr. said Pike failed to show that her constitutional rights were violated during her 1996 trial when she was sentenced to death.

Pike was 18 years old when she tortured and murdered a fellow Job Corps student on the University of Tennessee's agricultural campus. Prosecutors said she killed Colleen Slemmer because the student was a rival for her boyfriend's affections. Pike kept Slemmer's skull as a souvenir.

Pike made headlines around the country in 2012 when authorities said a New Jersey man and a former prison guard plotted to break her out of prison.