Job Corps Murderer Asks for Lesser Sentence

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knoxville (WVLT) - Defense attorneys are asking for a new trial in a 12-year-old death penalty case.

Christa Gail Pike, now 31, is currently on death row.

Pike was convicted back in 1996 of the 1995 torture and slaying of 19-year-old Colleen Slemmer.

This is the beginning of a very long hearing.

Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz says she expects the petition for Pike's new trial to go through Wednesday of this week, and then they'll continue it in December, that's because the original attorneys involved in the trial won't be available until then.

Leibowitz heard several different testimonies Monday.

"At certain points she was responsible and just polite, but she went into rage, as well, not understanding,” Tiddell Shipp is describing his girlfriend 12 years ago, Christa Pike...Pike was 19 at the time. "She would snap off a lot more and quicker."

Shipp was with Pike on February 12, 1995, "Christa thought of a plan and made a plan to do something to Colleen."

That night, 19-year old Colleen Slemmer, the couple's fellow Job Corps training student, was tortured and murdered in Tyson Park.

"Colleen was laying on the ground and Christa was talking about cutting her and stuff,” Shipp says.

That's what Shipp told investigators days after the murder, but Monday he's changed his story about the pentagram he said Pike helped him carve in Slemmer's chest.

"I carved it,” he says. “Every last bit of it."

Shipp was sentenced to life in prison for Slemmer's murder, while Pike was put on death row. Twelve years later, Shipp tells the court he was mainly responsible for the murder and misinformed investigators. "I was drunk, I was tired, I wanted them to leave me alone."

Shipp even says he would've testified during the 1996 trial, if given the chance.

"I would've advised him not to testify,” says Chris Coffee, Shipp’s attorney.

Tyrone Comfort then took the stand, a former Job Corps student who says he was best friends with Pike and saw that Shipp abused and controlled her. "Anytime she had a voice to do something, he'd change it real quick."

Ex-girlfriend DeAndrea Gates says she was also controlled by Ship, but that's no excuse for what Pike did. "I don't believe an individual can make someone do something of that nature."

Gates has letters from Ship he sent her from prison after the murder, "It's basically a murder confession of what happened the night Colleen was murdered."

About a dozen witnesses for the defense alone are expected to eventually take the stand.

We'll be back in court tomorrow for day two of the testimonies.


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  • by kettenhund Location: Oakland, CA on Feb 26, 2010 at 01:43 AM
    This woman is a BUTCHER!!!! Get it? She brutally slaughtered a young woman to death for total BS reasons and kept a piece of her skull as a souvenir. She's a Satanist and a Nazi, I think she's so bad she's too bad for lethal injection, dust off "Old Sparky" and let her fry in his embrace. Nazi butchers deserve the death penalty. She is NOT a human being, she's a bad seed who forfeited her humanity by her inhuman actions, let her do something positive and donate her organs to someone who needs them.
  • by Amy Location: near Orange Park, FL on Aug 21, 2009 at 11:50 AM
    The whole idea that she should get her sentence reduced to life is just wrong. It would be a waste of taxpayer's money to pay for her to live 50 years in prison. I have followed this case and she still blames THE VICTIM for this vicious murder! She says that Coleen "should not have made her that mad". No remorse whatsoever. Inject her now and end this senseless argument. Oh and by the way, I am against the death penalty in most cases, but in every case the judge and jurors have to look at the facts and make their decision, and in this case they made the right one.
  • by Vanndam Location: Jacksonville, Florida on Aug 20, 2009 at 07:04 PM
    I think people have lost sight of the basics. She received the Death Sentence as a punishment for her crime. It is a just sentence. If she were so mentaly unstable, she would have been unable to plan and carry out such a dubious and heinous crime. She thought this out to a logical conclusion, then planned and successfuly carried it out. AKA PREMEDITATED MURDER. She has now had over 14 years to plan for a possle new trail or second chance. She did not grant the same to the victim. All participants should have received the same sentence, and had the sentence carried out no later than one year after the sentence was handed down. As I said, a just sentence.
  • by Noeida1st Location: Atlanta Ga on Aug 17, 2009 at 03:54 PM
    Hey to the last comment that was posted get over yourself and get your facts staight too while your at it..We were not put here to judge one another and the last time i knew you couldnt walk on water so just calm down and i agree who wants to live with knowing that they put a young spirit to death instead of helpn her..If your ok with this then your no different then Christa at least shes answering for what she did while the othe two that were involved get off with a life sentence on one and the other get 6 yrs probation Unjustice if i ever saw such a thing..Christa the people i hang with are sending you lots of energy and blessings..May all the fairies go and be with you booboo
    • reply
      by Jamie Claire on Nov 23, 2011 at 11:28 PM in reply to Noeida1st
      you must be a piece of trash just like her!!! or do you just like murderers??? bet you'd feel different if she had done this to your mother or father or sister or child...wouldnt you? or maybe you dont even have a conscious just like she doesnt! LOSER
  • by Kristen Location: Kansas on May 19, 2009 at 05:04 PM
    I cant believe they are even considering not doing the death penalty. I've heard people say "Well she's still a human being!" and frankly NO. Human beings do not torture a young woman for an hour and a half and smash her skull and keep a piece and then brag about it. At least not any decent human being I have met.
  • by marie moran Location: scotland on May 4, 2008 at 01:34 PM
    i have never read a case like it what she did to that girl she must be put to death no justice for victims always do gooders saying forgive if it was your daughter would you
  • by al Location: england on Dec 2, 2007 at 07:01 AM
    i think before anything, give mrs martinez the right to bury her daughter.that poor woman has suffered enough.ms pike can be dealt with at a later date,she,s not going anywhere.
  • by Rocky Location: Washington on Nov 14, 2007 at 02:31 PM
    I'feel strongly! A'New Trail' is needed. Just the matters pertaing to her Mental.. Health. and other First Trail Facts.. ( She) Christa merits a new trail.. In addition NO DEATH SENTENCE!
  • by Anonymous on Sep 26, 2007 at 10:30 PM
    I knew Christa Pike when we were kids. Our mothers used to party together, and our families even lived together a couple of times. Even as a kid, there was something very creepy and weird about her. I was not the least bit suprised to hear that she had brutally murdered someone. Maybeit's not fair that Crista is the only one on Death Row, but is also not fair that Colleen Slemmer died due to acts that Christa played a part in. I think is stupid to blame her actions on her bi-polar disorder. I have several friends that are bi-polar, and even off their meds, they would not brutally murder another human being. It is also rediculas to blame her actions on her up-bringing. We were raised in very similar environments (same town, both had terrible mothers, she at least had a dad, I didn't), and I didn't turn out to be a murderer. Christa is getting exactly what she deserves. The only issue I have with Capital Punishment is that the criminal get too many appeals.
  • by Rick Location: NC on Aug 7, 2007 at 09:34 PM
    I have followed her case for several years. The WE channel aired Women on Death Row last night and ended with Christa telling how she should not be executed because others were involved. She said she knew she should remain in prison, but she still shows absolutely NO remorse for brutally torturing and killing that helpless girl. She just sits there with her head bobbing back and forth, explaining to us all how she should be allowed to live. If she is executed, now it will be by needle and not by electrocution like she deserves. She should have been cooked and stuck in the ground by now. And I'd still be more than happy to throw the switch on her.
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