Reports: Infamous murderesses team up in prison
Krista Pike and Natasha Cornett, two of the most infamous female murderers in Tennessee history, hooked up behind bars and forged a relationship that led to an attempted killing that was recently put to bed by an appellate court.
A unanimous Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals concluded that Pike, 37, attempted to murder an inmate at the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville using a bootlace.
Pike claimed she was acting in defense of Cornett, her girlfriend who had previous run-ins with the plus-sized victim, Patricia Jones.
During one particularly distasteful fracas, Jones threw a soiled sanitary napkin in Cornett’s face, according to the decision.
Recorded conversations she made from a prison phone, however, contradicted that defense-of-another assertion and made it abundantly clear Pike was guilty of attempted first-degree murder, the court concluded.
“See, I know the difference between premeditated murder and what happened (in an unrelated assault),” Pike told her mother. “I premeditated the h— out of this. Sure did.
“If I had 30 more seconds, I’d … We’d have a little chalk line out there in our rec pen, and that b—- would be gone somewhere …She was passed out on the ground, Mama, twitching, foaming at the mouth, her eyeballs were bugged out so far, her eyelids were flipped up.”
Both Pike and Cornett know premeditated murder, and perhaps not surprisingly, their biographies have significantly shared story lines.
Pike and Cornett came from cash-strapped families with turbulent social histories.
Both dabbled in witchcraft and the occult, interests that were evidenced in the murders they committed, and both were just 18 years old when they forever lost their freedom.
Cornett was the reputed leader of a group young adults and juveniles from Eastern Kentucky who killed three in Greene County in 1997.
They carjacked and kidnapped Vidar Lillelid, his wife Delfina, their 6-year-old daughter, Tabitha, and their 2-year-old son, Peter, at a rest area off Interstate 81 in Greene County.
One of the group shot the males through an eye in a way they believed stole their souls. Peter lived. Bullet wounds on different victims, when overlaid, created a hexagram, a geometric form associated with the dark arts.
Pike carved a pentagram in the chest of her victim, a 19-year-old perceived romantic rival, while the young woman was still alive.
Pike beat her victim, sliced her with a box cutter, further maimed her with a meat cleaver before bludgeoning her to death with a rock.
Her conviction in a heinous 1995 murder in Knoxville made Pike the only female on Tennessee’s death row.
The judge who presided at Pike’s attempted-murder trial ruled that jurors could hear that Pike was serving time for murder, but not that she was on death row.
The victim, who is also a convicted murderer, let the death-row part slip during her testimony. The appellate court ruled that Pike’s trial attorney didn’t object to the death-row reference at the time, so Pike’s appellate attorney could raise it on appeal.
Other appellate issues Pike’s appellate attorneys were unable to raise include the prosecutor’s reference to Pike as a “wolf” in closing arguments and disallowing testimony about the victim’s murder conviction and violent history while incarcerated.
Typically, death row inmates have no contact with other inmates, but the day of the attempted murder was a special occasion.
An inmate set the prison on fire, and all prisoners were evacuated to recreation cages outside. Pike, Cornett and Jones, who apparently were considered the three most dangerous inmates in the penal institution, were temporarily housed in the same cage.
- By Robert Moore, Tribune Staff Writer