Female death row inmate to challenge conviction

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The inmate at the center of a death row escape plot is expected back in court Thursday to fight a 2004 conviction for the attempted murder of another inmate on a maximum security cell block.

Officials say 36-year-old Christa Pike says she received ineffective counsel. Pike's attorney, Nashville lawyer Graham Prichard, has declined to comment.

Pike was sentenced to death in a separate case, the 1995 murder of fellow Knoxville Job Corps student Colleen Slemmer, and currently is Tennessee's only woman on death row. Authorities said that even though she already was on death row, the state still had to prosecute her for trying to kill the other inmate.

Last month, authorities said two men, including a former corrections officer, were indicted in a plot to free Pike.

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