Christa Pike believed Colleen Slemmer fancied her man. Even though Colleen vehemently denied it, Christa wouldn't let that get in the way of her vile vengeance...
On 13 January 1995, an employee of the University of Tennessee campus stumbled across a human corpse.
The semi-naked body was identified as Colleen Slemmer, 19. She was a student at Job Corps – a government initiative to help low-income youngsters get vocational training and skills.
Colleen had been brutally tortured. Someone had sliced at her chest and stomach hundreds of times. Her throat was slashed, too, and a pentagram – a five-pointed star – carved into her chest. Then a slab of tarmac had been bashed into her head, killing her.
Who could have done this?
Job Corps’ records showed Colleen and three friends, Christa Pike, Tadaryl Shipp and Shadolla Peterson, had signed out of their dorms on 12 January. Colleen never returned.
The trio was arrested. Christa Gail Pike’s bloody jeans were found in her room, and a piece of Colleen’s skull was shoved in Christa’s jacket pocket.
A search of Tadaryl Shipp’s room revealed a Satanic Bible and altar. Tadaryl, 17, was Christa’s boyfriend. Their mutual friend, Shadolla Peterson, 18, was arrested too.
Soon, the truth emerged…
Jealous teen Christa, 18, was sure Colleen was trying to steal her man. She’d only intended to scare her off, but it had got out of hand. So what led Christa to monstrous actions?
Born in March 1976, Christa didn’t bond with her mum. So she was raised by her verbally abusive and alcoholic grandmother, who died in 1988, when Christa was 12.
She was then shuffled between her parents and became ‘out of control’. By 18, she’d been thrown out of her dad’s house twice.
Christa’s mum admitted smoking marijuana with her in a belated attempt to bond with her troubled daughter. But it was too late.
Despite having a bright IQ of 111, Christa dropped out of school and joined the Job Corps. There, she met Tadaryl, Shadolla and Colleen. Christa fell for Tadaryl, but she was sure Colleen had feelings for him – though Colleen’s friends denied this.
‘This little whore has to be taught a lesson,’ Christa seethed. With the help of Tadaryl and Shadolla, Christa lured Colleen to a secluded spot on campus with the promise of marijuana.
Christa confronted Colleen and, when she denied everything, Christa kneed her love rival in the face. Then Christa made her victim remove her shirt and bra, and proceeded to stab, slash and cut Colleen, 19, with a box-cutter and meat cleaver. Horrifically, Colleen was tortured for up to an hour by the trio.
Then the pentagram was carved into her skin before Christa used a lump of tarmac to kill her. Christa fished out a bit of Colleen’s skull as a souvenir.
Christa Gail Pike, Tadaryl Shipp and Shadolla Peterson were arrested. Shipp was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. Peterson was given six years’ probation for pleading guilty to being an accessory.
Pike was found guilty of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. She was sentenced to death – the youngest woman to be put on death row.