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These Four Teenage Girls Committed a Brutal Murder
Shanda Sharer was just your ordinary pre-teen, but her life was changed forever when she was brutally murdered by three older teenage girls. It’s hard to believe that young girls are capable of this type of behavior, but this case proves that they really are. It also shows that crowd mentality is very real. It’s hard to believe that any one of these girls wanted to go along with the plan, but somehow, the evening’s events transpired without any protest
Not only did they murder Shanda Sharer, but they brutally tortured her before putting an end to her life. At the tender age of 11, Shanda Sharer didn’t even have a chance for her life to begin. Her life was unfairly taken from her, way too soon. How did all this happen? Keep reading to find out.
About Shanda Sharer.
Shanda was a bubbly pre-teen with her whole life ahead of her. She was someone that everybody wanted to be friends with. But one day she got into a fight at school with a 14-year-old girl named Amanda. And this is where the
entire story begins.
The two were put in detention together and made up quickly. It wasn’t long before they became best friends. But Shanda’s mom wasn’t too happy about this new friendship, as Shanda’s grades started slipping, and she started getting into more trouble at school. Soon the pair started to become romantically involved. Although this wasn’t made clear to Shanda’s mother at the time, she would soon find out.
It All Started at a School Dance.
The events all started at a school dance that Shanda attended with her new girlfriend Amanda. Unfortunately, Amanda’s ex wasn’t too happy about the fact that she was dating someone else. Melinda Loveless was the name of her ex, who decided to pick a fight with Shanda that evening.
Both Amanda and Melinda were a few years older than Shanda, and Melinda started to torment Shanda, saying she wanted to kill her. Amanda got between them and told Melinda to calm down, so the events didn’t escalate too badly that night. But it seemed that revenge was brewing in Melinda’s mind.
It Turned Out to Be More Than Just Friendship
One day, Shanda’s mom, Jackie, found love letters written between Amanda and Shanda. She was worried about how sexually explicit the content of the letters was. Especially because her little girl was only 11 years old. That’s quite a young age to become romantically involved.
Jackie decided she wanted to send her daughter to another school to split the two girls up. Shanda was getting into trouble more and her mother didn’t like the direction the situation was going towards. Shanda was sent to a catholic school and started to enjoy it. Although the two girls were now at separate schools, they continued to send love letters to one another. But it seemed as if Shanda was less responsive now than she had been when they were at the same school.
How Was Shanda Sharer Abducted?
It was early evening on the 10th of June, 1992, when four girls rocked up outside of Shanda’s house. Their names were Melinda Loveless (Amanda’s ex), Hope Rippey, Laurie Tackett, and Toni Lawrence. These girls had a plan for Shanda, and it all began with Hope and Toni knocking on Shanda’s front door.
When Shanda opened the door, she was told that Amanda wanted to talk to her and they would take her to her girlfriend. She said her dad and stepmom were still awake, but that they should come back later because she wanted to see Amanda. What she didn’t know, was that this was some kind of twisted revenge plot put together by Amanda’s ex, Melinda Loveless.
Events at the Witches Castle
The girls left and came back at 12:30 am in the dark of night as they were certain Shanda’s dad and stepmom would be asleep by then. Hope and Laurie marched up to the door to fetch Shanda, while Melinda and Toni stayed in the car. They hid under a blanket holding a knife. Just the sort of surprise that Shanda would not be expecting.
When Shanda got into the car, Melinda popped out and threatened Shanda with the knife. They then took her to the Witch’s Castle in the woods. There they tied her hands and feet and threatened her with cutting all her hair off. They then made a fire, it’s not entirely clear why, but it can be assumed it was either for ambiance or to stave off the cold.
Leaving the Witch’s Castle
The girls were worried that the fire may have drawn attention to them, so they decided to leave the Witch’s Castle. They drove around aimlessly for a while, all unsure of what they were going to do next. Eventually, they ended up in the forest that was located behind Laurie’s house. This seemed like a quiet place for them to go about their evil deeds.
Laurie and Melinda took Shanda into the woods while Toni and Hope remained in the car. The two girls proceeded to take off all of Shanda’s clothes, and they started beating her. Melinda even tried to cut Shanda’s throat, but it appeared that the knife was too blunt. It was then that Hope decided to join them in the woods. It seemed that she wanted to be a part of all the action.
A Seeming End to the Torture
Now that Hope had joined Laurie and Melinda in the woods, they had an extra set of hands to help them. Hope was holding Shanda down, while Laurie and Melinda took turns to stab Shanda. They then strangled young Shanda until they were sure she was unconscious before putting her body into the back of the car.
It’s almost unbelievable that girls of this age would be capable of such a gruesome murder, but there’s a lot more to each of these girls than first meets the eye. Each of them had lived very difficult lives, not that anything aids as an excuse for the terrible events that unfolded that night.
All About Melinda Loveless
As you can imagine, Melinda Loveless didn’t come from a healthy, loving, and balanced home. Melinda’s father, Larry Loveless, was an army veteran from the Vietnam War. He had difficulty getting and holding down a job and spent all the money he did make on guns and motorcycles. Which is not a very responsible way for any father to behave.
Larry was also an abusive drunk and was known to beat his wife in front of their children. He and Marjorie (Melinda’s mother) had an open relationship, and would often bring other couples home from the bar. They were a promiscuous couple, to say the least. Larry was also known for lending out his wife to his friends. Whether this was out of her own will or forced upon her is not known.
More About the Life of Melinda Loveless
Marjorie was beaten badly and often, sometimes even having to be hospitalized for her injuries. Because of this, she became increasingly depressed and tried to take her own life many times. Unfortunately, Larry didn’t keep his abusive behavior to only his wife, it seemed he was willing to abuse everyone and anyone he had any kind of power over.
He was abusive toward his three young daughters too. Even going as far as molesting them. Melinda claimed that she shared a bed with her father until she was 14, which was when her parents finally got divorced and her father moved out of state. Leaving his family to live in peace for the very first time. But it’s easy to see how their tragic past could have tormented each of them a great deal.
Melinda Loveless Continued to Have a Difficult Life
As a young teenager, Melinda struggled badly with depression and she got into fights at school on a regular basis. This is not surprising considering the level of violence that she had to endure at home. Yet still, nobody could have ever predicted how far she would take her violence with Shanda.
Melinda was having trouble at school because there was so much else going on in her life. She ended up being held back a year to repeat her grade. She was also very open about being gay, which was not very common for a young girl living in a small town in the ‘90s. Melinda was a mere 16 years old when she was involved with Shanda’s murder.
Who Was Laurie Tackett?
Mary Laurine “Laurie” Tackett was raised in a strict Christian household in Madison. Both her parents were abusive and child services had been to their house on numerous occasions. Laurie started to self-harm as a young teen, landing herself in hospital many times. Eventually, she was diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder after confessing that she’d had hallucinations ever since she was a child.
After being released from the hospital, Laurie ran away from home and went to live with friends in Madison. That is where she met Melinda, and after becoming inseparable friends, she moved to New Albany with Melinda. Laurie was the oldest of the girls, being 17 when she assisted in the murder of Shanda Sharer.
Who Was Hope Rippey?
Hope also made friends with Laurie in Madison. Her parents (who were much more involved in her life than the rest of the girls), weren’t happy about the two spending time together as they could tell that Laurie was not a good influence. Their daughter was precious to them, and they didn’t want bad things to come her way simply because of the people she was hanging out with. But they had no idea just how bad things would get.
Just like the other two girls, Hope was a self-harmer and identified as gay. She was also the only one in the group that was friends with Toni. The two had been very close friends from a young age. She was just 15 years old when she assisted in the murder of Shanda Sharer.
Who Was Toni Lawrence?
Toni was a little different from the rest as she was close friends with Hope, but didn’t know the other two very well. There were reports that stated that Toni was abused by a relative at the tender age of nine. She was also raped by a teenage boy at the age of 14, and there was no justice as the police simply asked the boy to stay away from her.
Although Toni started going to counseling after being raped, she stopped going after a short while. This event seemed to be a turning point, changing her into a promiscuous young teenager who engaged in self-harm and even attempted to end her own life when she was only in eighth grade. When she was involved with Shanda Sharer’s murder she was just 15 years old.
What Was the Original Plan?
The girls were planning on attending a rock concert on the 10th of June, the night of Shanda’s murder. Toni had never even met Laurie and Melinda, but she was solemn friends with Hope so she was invited along for the ride. When Toni got into the car, Laurie asked Hope, “did you tell her yet?” Laurie responded with, “tell her what?”
Laurie told Toni, “we’re going to kill a girl tonight!” Of course, Toni thought it was some sort of strange joke, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Then they drove to New Albany to pick up Melinda. When Melinda came walking out of her house, she was carrying a very large kitchen knife. She got in the car excitedly and told the girls she wanted to give this Shanda girl a scare.
The Three Girls Were Just Along for the Ride
Out of all of the girls, Melinda was the only one who had ever met Shanda. So when Melinda said she wanted to give the young girl a scare, the others were just going along for the ride. It’s hard to imagine how it escalated so quickly with none of the girls attempting to stop the events of that evening.
When the four arrived at Shanda’s house for the first time, Melinda was hiding on the floor of the car as she knew that Shanda would not get in the car if she knew Melinda was there. Shanda had never actually met Toni or Hope before, but she agreed to go along with them in the hopes of seeing her girlfriend Amanda. Unfortunately, the group had other plans for her.
Toni Started to Have Her Suspicions
When Shanda told the two girls to come back later, they hopped in the car and all headed to the rock concert they had been planning on attending that night. When it was over, they started to make their way back to Shanda’s house. It was then that Toni started to feel uncomfortable.
At this point, Toni started to feel concerned over the events that were going to unfold. Melinda kept talking about how excited she was to kill Shanda, although she kept correcting herself, saying that she just wanted to scare the girl. Toni didn’t like this very much, and because of it, refused to go back to Shanda’s door to lure her to the car.
An Awful Surprise for Shanda
Shanda excitedly made her way toward the car as she looked forward to seeing her girlfriend. But when she was in the car, Melinda popped up and grabbed her hair, all while holding a knife to her throat. While Shanda begged Melinda not to hurt her, Melinda coldly said “shut up, b***h!”
They then headed to the Witch’s Castle, where Laurie and Melinda started to tie her up. They kept telling her that the place was full of dead people to scare her as if their actions weren’t enough to terrify the young girl. Laurie then lit a t-shirt on fire and told Shanda that soon she would be the one burning. Although none of the girls were likely to believe this at the time, it would turn out to be true.
What Happened Next?
Next, the girls took Shanda to the woods. There Laurie and Melinda stabbed her multiple times and strangled her until she was unconscious. They then took her body and put it in the trunk of the car, telling the other girls that she was dead. This was something they probably believed to be true at the time.
When they heard sounds coming from the trunk of the car, they realized she must still be alive. Laurie got out of the car and stabbed her a few more times until Shanda was completely silent. That was how poor 11-year-old Shanda was brutally tortured. It’s hard to even imagine the pain she must have endured that night.
What Did the Girls Do After Committing Murder?
Laurie and Melinda then dropped Hope and Toni off, before driving around with Shanda in the trunk of their car. Neither of them remember how long they were driving before they picked up Toni and Hope again. With events so gruesome, it’s not hard to believe that the entire night went by in a blur.
Laurie and Melinda then wanted to show the other two girls what they had done to Shanda. Although Toni refused to look, Hope did. She then sprayed the body with Windex and said, “You’re not looking so hot now, are you?” What inspired this kind of treatment for a girl she had never even met before that night is incomprehensible.
The Final Moments of Shanda’s Life
The girls pulled up to a local gas station and Toni bought a bottle of Pepsi. That seemed to give Laurie an idea as she snatched the bottle, emptied it, and filled it with gasoline. They all hopped in the car and drove down a country lane surrounded by fields. Laurie and Hope hoisted the still barely alive Shanda out of the boot and dumped her body.
When the body was in the middle of a field, Laurie poured gasoline on Shanda and set her alight. All four girls then went to McDonald’s. Toni, who never wanted to go along with the idea at all was absolutely hysterical - understandably. It had been a dramatic evening filled with incredibly dark activities. One’s that all the girls would come to regret.
Melinda Decided to Contact Her Ex
Melinda and Laurie decided it was time for Hope and Toni to go home. They dropped them off and then decided to call Melinda’s ex, Amanda. Melinda told Amanda about what they had done, but Amanda didn’t believe it. She agreed to meet up with Melinda anyway to find out what was going on.
They picked Amanda up and took her to Melinda’s house, where Melinda broke down and told Amanda everything. Amanda couldn’t believe what she was being told, so Melinda showed her the trunk of the car which contained pools of blood, bloody handprints, long dark strands of hair, and one of Shanda’s socks.
The Body Was Found Almost Instantly
While the girls had been chowing down burgers at McDonald’s, two brothers had been out hunting quail in the same vicinity that the girls had dumped the body. They stumbled across Shanda’s burnt remains and immediately called the cops. What an unexpected and traumatic find during your early morning hunting session.
What the cops realized is that the body wasn’t only horribly burnt and mutilated but it had been placed in a sexual position. This caused them to believe that the young girl had been molested before her death as well. Of course, in the morning Shanda’s dad noticed she was missing and immediately called the cops to report his missing daughter.
Toni Stepped Forward
The very next day, Toni walked into the police station with her dad to speak to a detective. She was in hysterics but told the cops absolutely everything about the murder that she never intended to be a part of. This would help her in the long run, but she got off far from scot-free.
She told the cops that the girl’s name was Shanda and that she was either 12 or 13. She didn’t remember the times that all these events took place, but she could tell the cops exactly what happened in each location. Leading them through the story from picking Shanda up, going to the Witch’s Castle, heading to the woods behind Laurie’s house, going to the gas station, and then the open field where the cops had found a body that very morning.
Arrests and Sentencing
Although the girls were teenagers, they were all tried as adults. Because every single one of the girls admitted guilt, they managed to avoid the death penalty. Laurie and Melinda were given double life sentences, while Hope was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Toni however, got out with only a 20-year sentence.
None of the girls served their full sentences, Toni and Hope even managed to get out after just a couple of years. They went on parole before being set free for good. Many of the girls went on to change their names, no longer wanting to be tied to their criminal past. But for Shanda, a night of gruesome torture at the hands of cruel teenagers would be her last day on earth. Do you think that justice was served for this horrific crime?
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