Pike Appeal Upheld

Thursday, March 9, 2006
by Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld the conviction of death row inmate Christa Gail Pike for trying to strangle a fellow inmate during a prison fight. Pike claims she was attempting to protect her friend and fellow inmate, Natasha Cornett. Cornett was one of six people who pleaded guilty to the 1997 murders of three members of the Lillelid family in northern Greene County.

Pike was charged with attacking another woman in 2001 while the pair and Cornett were placed together in a cage after a fire-related evacuation of the prison cells. Pike allegedly tried to strangle Jones with a shoelace-like string.

The conviction for attempted first-degree murder added 25 years to the death sentence for Pike, already behind bars for a torture killing in Knoxville eleven years ago.