Women of Death Row

Compared to men, dramatically fewer women have sat on death row and even fewer have been executed. As of December 31, 2012 only 571 total women have been executed since 1632. This makes up only 2.9% of the total documented executions. Some of the most notable women who have been on death row are Christa Pike, Blanche Moore, Christina Riggs and Frances Newton.

Christa Pike

Christa Gail Pike is the youngest woman ever put on death row and is currently the only woman on death row in Tennessee. She was twenty at the time that she was convicted and sentenced to death for the torture and murder of her classmate, Colleen Slemmer. The crime was committed when she was eighteen, and the apparent motive was jealousy. The two women were embroiled in a love triangle with Tadaryl Shipp. Pike, along with Shipp, and Shadolla Peterson lured Slemmer into the woods and attacked her. The torture went on for approximately thirty minutes before Pike bludgeoned her to death with a piece of asphalt and even kept a piece of her skull as a souvenir.

Blanche Moore

One of the rare female serial killers, Blanche Kiser Taylor Moore was actually only convicted of one murder – that of her former boyfriend, Raymond Reid. Police became suspicious when her second husband, Reverend Dwight Moore, was found to have arsenic poisoning in 1989. This prompted the exhumation of Reid and her first husband, James Napoleon Taylor, who died in 1973. It was later determined that both men died of arsenic poisoning and her father, Parker D. Kiser also died with symptoms similar to arsenic poisoning. She is on death row in North Carolina and with numerous appeals has managed to stall her execution for over two decades.

Christina Riggs

The state of Arkansas put Christina Marie Riggs to death in 2000. The former nurse confessed to murdering her two children in 1998 when she asked the jury to convict her to death. She gave her five-year-old son, Justin, potassium chloride and when that failed to kill him she suffocated him with a pillow. She then smothered her two-year-old daughter, Shelby Alexis, as well. Afterward, she attempted to kill herself. 

Frances Newton

In an attempt to collect insurance money, Frances Newton, took out insurance policies in March of 1987 on her husband, Adrian, and their twenty-one month old daughter, Farrah. A policy was already in place for their seven-year-old son, Alton. Then in April of 1987, Adrian Newton and the two children were found dead with gunshot wounds. Newton attempted to hide the murder weapon in an abandoned house, but it was quickly recovered and identified. Gunpowder residue was found on her and she was the benefactor of all of the insurance policies and made claims the day following the murders. She remained in death row in Texas until 2005 when she was executed.