Lawyers for only woman on Tennessee’s death row fight to stop execution

Lawyers for only woman on Tennessee’s death row fight to stop execution


Lawyers for Christa Pike, the only woman on Tennessee’s death row, are fighting to see her sentence commuted to life after prosecutors looked to set an execution date.

Pike’s legal team have asked the state Supreme Court to recommend that Governor Bill Lee commute her sentence.

The plea comes after the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office asked the high court to set an execution date for Pike after asserting that she had exhausted her appeals.

Pike was 20 years old when she was convicted of torturing and murdering a classmate at the age of 18.

She became the youngest to be sentenced to death in the US.

Both Pike and her then partner Tadaryl Shipp were found guilty of having killed Colleen Slemmer on the University of Tennessee’s agriculture campus in 1995.

Only Pike was sentenced to death, however, while Shipp, who was 17, was sentenced to life imprisonment and will be eligible for release in 2028.

Shadolla Peterson, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to being an accessory in the crime after having served as a lookout during the murder. She received a six-year probation sentence for her role.

According to the Associated Press, Pike’s legal team cited the convicted murderer’s youth at the time of the crime, as well as mental illness and childhood trauma.

Pike is said to have endured severe abuse and neglect as a child. She is also alleged to have been raped twice as a child.

Her lawyers have also said that Pike was born with brain damage and has suffered from severe mental illness.

Similar arguments have previously been made in her case, but they have been unsuccessful.

If the request for a commutation is denied, lawyers have asked to be given more time for a psychologist to examine their client.

They also say more time should be given to allow an investigation by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights into whether Pike’s rights may have been violated due to perceived failures of her early defence team to conclude.

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