Colleen Slemmer's Mom Wants Christa Pike, Only Woman On Tennessee's Death Row, Executed

The mother of Christa Pike's murder victim is calling for her to be executed.

Pike, the only woman on Tennessee's death row, was sentenced to death for the 1995 killing of 19-year-old Colleen Slemmer.

Pike was 18 when she, her boyfriend Tadaryl Shipp and their friend Shadolla Peterson lured Slemmer to a remote spot on the University of Tennessee's agriculture campus in Knoxville in January 1995. All had been taking part in a jobs program for troubled adolescents at the time.

According to court documents, Pike and Shipp tortured the teenager, including by carving a pentagram in her chest. Pike then bashed Slemmer's skull with a large chunk of asphalt and kept a piece as a souvenir.

Christa Pike
Attorneys for Christa Pike, the only woman on Tennessee's death row, are asking the state Supreme Court to recommend Gov. Bill Lee commute her sentence to life. Tennessee Department of Corrections

Slemmer's mother May Martinez told WBIR that she still hasn't gotten that piece back and won't receive it until Pike, now 45, is put to death.

"Honestly, my heart breaks every single day because I keep reliving it and reliving it," Martinez told the station. "I want this to happen before I die. Otherwise, nobody will see justice."

Her comments come after Pike's attorneys last week asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to recommend Gov. Bill Lee commute their client's sentence to life imprisonment, citing her age at the time of the crime, her "severe" mental illness, and "horrific" childhood.

The court filing came in response to the Tennessee Attorney General's Office asking the high court to set an execution date for Pike, contending she has exhausted her appeals.

Pike's attorneys argued that Shipp was the ringleader in the crime, but was ineligible for the death penalty because he was 17. Shipp was sentenced to life imprisonment and will be eligible for release in 2028.

"Had she been slightly younger at the time of the crime, like her co-defendant Shipp, Christa Pike would have been ineligible for the death penalty," Pike's attorneys wrote.

Meanwhile, Martinez told WBIR that both Pike and Shipp have been giving interviews about her daughter's murder while behind bars.

"They both get fame from it. And I just want Christa down so I can end it," she said.

If her execution goes ahead, Pike would be the first woman executed in Tennessee in over 200 years.

Tennessee last executed an inmate, Nicholas Sutton, in February 20 last year. The COVID-19 pandemic has halted executions in the state since then, with four executions that had been scheduled to take place in 2020 later called off.