A Chattanooga federal judge has upheld the conviction and death sentence of Christa Pike, who was convicted of the 1995 torture murder of a fellow Job Corps worker in Knoxville.
Judge Sandy Mattice said he did not find valid grounds for the appeal to proceed further in the federal courts.
Ms. Pike, who was the youngest woman to be sentenced to death in the United States since the U.S. Supreme Court's Furman ruling in 1972, was 18 at the time of the killing of 19-year-old Colleen Slemmer. She was 20 when she was sentenced to death plus 25 years in state court.
Ms. Pike had dropped out of high school before joining the Job Corps, which offered vocational training for low-income youth. She began dabbling in the occult and devil worship along with a boyfriend.
She allegedly became jealous of Ms. Slemmer, believing she was trying to steal her boyfriend, Tadaryl Shipp.
The victim was lured to an abandoned steam plant close to the University of Tennessee campus.
She was attacked by Ms. Pike and Shipp and was taunted, beaten and slashed. A pentagram was carved in her chest. Ms. Pike smashed her skull with a large chunk of asphalt. She later kept a piece of the skull and showed it off to friends. When she was arrested, a piece of the victim's skull was in her jacket pocket.
Shipp was given a life sentence with the possibility of parole in 2028.
Ms. Pike at one time dropped her appeal, but later refiled it.
Ms. Pike on Aug. 24, 2001, attempted to strangle a fellow inmate, Patricia Jones, with a shoe string. Ms. Jones nearly died. Ms. Pike was convicted of attempted first-degree murder in 2004.
Ms. Pike was in the news in 2012 when she was allegedly involved in a plot to escape from prison with the help of a corrections officer and a New Jersey man who had visited her in prison.