The murder of Shanda Sharer shocked Indiana and the rest of the country when this twelve year old girl would be tortured and murdered by a pack of teenage girls. Melinda Loveless, Laurie Tackett, Hope Rippey and Toni Lawrence would be responsible for the brutal murder. In this article on My Crime Library we will take a closer look at the murder of Shanda Sharer.
Shanda Sharer Murder – The Beginning
Melinda Loveless was dating a girl by the name of Amanda Heavrin however like most teen relationships the two would eventually have a falling out. Amanda Heavrin would start to date Shanda Sharer and that would infuriate Melinda who began to openly threaten the twelve year old and spoke about killing her with others. Shanda Sharer parents would transfer their daughter to a Catholic school after becoming aware of her relationship with Amanda Heavrin
Shanda Sharer Murder – The Abduction
On January 10 1992 Toni Lawrence (age 15), Hope Rippey (15), and Laurie Tackett (17) would drive from Madison Indiana to New Albany Indiana to pick up Melinda Loveless (age 16). Though two of the soon to be teen killers had just met Loveless on one other occasion the group planed the murder of Shanda Sharer.
The four teen girls would drive to Jeffersonville where Shanda Sharer spent weekends with her father. The girls would ask Shanda to go out with them however the twelve year old told them she couldn’t as her father was still awake and to come back after midnight.
The four teen killers would return to Jeffersonville and would convince Shanda to come with them as Amanda was waiting for her. Once Shanda Sharer was in the car Melinda Loveless, who was hiding under a blanket, jumped out putting a knife to Shanda’s throat. The girls would taunt and threaten Sharer throughout the ride.
The car would first stop at Witch’s Castle where Shanda Sharer arms and legs were bound with rope. The girls would continue to threaten Sharer. After one of the girls set a tshirt on fire but they would quickly go back to the vehicle worried the flames would attract attention
The car would travel to a wooded area near Laurie Tacketts home. The teen killers would drag Shanda Sharer from the vehicle
Shanda Sharer Murder
When they reached the wooded area Melinda Loveless and Laurie Tackett would drag Shanda from the car and order her to strip naked. Hope Rippey and Toni Lawrence would stay in the car. Melinda would begin to strike the twelve year old girl, struck her several times in the face with her knee and then Loveless and Tackett began to stab her in the chest. Hope Rippey would come out of the car to hold Shanda Sharer down. The teen killers would tie a rope around Shanda neck and strangled the girl until they thought she was dead The girls would put the body of the twelve year old into the trunk of the car
The girls would travel to Laurie Tackett home and went inside to clean up. While they were inside they heard Shanda Sharer scream from the trunk of the car. Laurie Tackett would grab a paring knife and would stab Shanda several more times.
Laurie Tackett an Melinda Loveless would go back out to the car and drove to a nearby town. When they opened the trunk of the car Shanda Sharer sat up, Tackett would strike the twelve year old girl with a tire iron. Loveless and Tackett would drive back to Laurie’s home.
A couple of hours later all four girls were back in the car. They drove to a gas station where they bought a large bottle of Pepsi which they dumped out and filled with gasoline. The teen killers would drive to a remote location where three of the girls (Lawrence stayed in the car) would drag Shanda Sharer out (the twelve year old was still alive)
Shanda Sharer was dropped in the field, soaked with gasoline and set on fire. After the fire burned out Loveless was not convinced Sharer was dead so she would throw more gasoline on Sharer and set her on fire again.
The girls would leave the scene and go to McDonald’s where they would laugh about the murder.
Shanda Sharer Murder – Arrests And Trials
The burned body of Shanda Sharer would be found later the same morning. Police initially thought that the murder was a drug deal gone wrong. Shana Sharer father would report his daughter missing that day
At 8:20 Hope Rippey and Toni Lawrence would go to the police station and tell the officers what had happened earlier that day.
Police would match the dental records of Shanda Sharer to the body found earlier that day and they would match.
Melinda Loveless and Toni Lawrence would be arrested the next day.
All four of the teen girls would plead guilty in order to avoid the death penalty.
Toni Lawrence was sentenced to a maximum of twenty years in prison. She would be released after serving nine years
Hope Rippey would be sentenced to sixty years in prison, ten suspended and ten to be served on probation. This sentence would be reduced to thirty five years on appeal. Hope Rippey would be released after serving 12 years
Laurie Tackett, whose real name is Mary Laurine Tackett, was sentenced to sixty years in prison Laurie Tackett would be released in 2018
Melinda Loveless was sentenced to sixty years in prison. Melinda Loveless would be released in 2019. Loveless is currently serving her parole in Kentucky
Shanda Sharer Videos
Shanda Sharer Murder More News
The last of four teenagers convicted of the kidnapping, torture and murder of a 12-year-old girl has been released from prison.
Melinda Loveless, now 43, was released from the Indiana Women’s Prison in Indianapolis on Thursday, according to a spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Correction.
In Dec. 1992, Loveless pleaded guilty to the Jan. 11, 1992 murder of 12-year-old Shanda Sharer of New Albany.
Sharer was tortured, beaten and burned in a rural area of Jefferson County, Indiana.
Loveless served more than 26 years in prison for murder and criminal confinement. She convinced three other teens — Hope Rippey, Laurie Tackett and Toni Lawrence — to participate in the crime because she believed Sharer stole her girlfriend.
Loveless is the last of the four to be released from prison. She will now serve parole in Jefferson County, Kentucky, according to the Kentucky Department of Corrections.
Sharer would have been 40 years old this year.