Only Female on Death Row Files Federal Appeal

The only woman on death row in Tennessee is asking a federal judge to prevent her execution, Knoxnews reports. Convicted killer Christa Gail Pike has exhausted state court appeals and now has turned to the U.S. District Court. Among her claims, Pike contends that her trial attorney was incompetent, and that she was "a mentally ill, cognitively impaired, immature adolescent" suffering from brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder at the time of the incident. Her federal petition contains claims previously raised but also includes a new charge: that state courts violated her constitutional rights during the trial and penalty phases of her case.