Job Corps Student Murdered on Agriculture Campus

Colleen Slemmer, 19, a Job Corps participant living at the Job Corps residence on Dale Avenue, was murdered behind the agriculture campus steam plant on January 12, 1995, by three of her fellow Job Corps participants. Two UT physical plant employees discovered her body the next morning.

Christa Pike (18) and Tadaryl Shipp (17) were convicted of murder. Shadolla Peterson (18), who turned informant, was convicted of being an accessory and received a sentence of parole. The murder involved a lengthy beating and torture, the cutting of a pentagram on Slemmer’s chest, and the taking of a piece of Slemmer’s skull by Pike as a souvenir. Testimony indicated that Pike created the plan because she thought Slemmer was interested in her boyfriend (Shipp). Pike and Shipp confessed to the murder. Pike was convicted on March 22, 1996, of both murder and conspiracy and was sentenced on March 30 to death by electrocution, becoming the youngest person on death row. Shipp received a life sentence with the possibility of parole. Pike launched, canceled, and then relaunched an appeal of her conviction. In December 2008 her latest request for a new trial was turned down, and she was returned to death row with no date set for the execution.

The 1995 murder was not the first serious event connecting the Job Corps Center and UT. In December 1993 two Jobs Corps residents were accused of attacking two UT students who were sitting in a car at the fringe of campus. The male student was badly beaten; the female student was driven elsewhere and raped. Both Job Corps students were convicted of the crimes.

The Dale Avenue Center was closed in 1995.

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  • Title Job Corps Student Murdered on Agriculture Campus
  • Author
  • Keywords Job Corps Student Murdered on Agriculture Campus
  • Website Name Volopedia
  • Publisher University of Tennessee Libraries
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  • Access Date April 21, 2024
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update October 8, 2018