Shanda Renee Sharer was born on June 6th, 1979, in Pineville, Kentucky to parents, Steven and Jacqueline. Her parents later got divorced however, and her mother remarried. Shanda, her mother and new stepfather later moved to Louisville. Whilst in Louisville, Shanda attended St. Paul School for a brief period, where she was active on the cheerleading, volleyball and softball teams.
However, I did say her time here was ‘brief’, because her mother got divorced again and so, Shanda and her mother left and moved to New Albany, Indiana in June 1991.
Shanda went to Hazelwood Junior High and had no trouble making friends there. She made it easy for everyone to make new friends because she was friendly and outgoing. But it didn’t take long for Shanda to get into a fight with another girl. That girl turned out to be Amanda Heavrin.
But things changed when both girls were sent to detention and began to talk. They became friends right away and then started writing each other love letters. Shanda was only 12 years old, but she already knew she liked girls.
Shanda and Amanda went to a school dance together in early October 1991. This was their way of telling their friends that they were dating and didn’t care what other people thought. Shanda didn’t know it, but someone was very angry at her. Amanda used to date this girl, whose name was Melinda Loveless, and she was 14 years old.
Marjorie and Larry Loveless had three daughters. Melinda was born in New Albany on October 28, 1975. She is the youngest of their three daughters. In any case, she was in a strange place. People said her father Larry was a se*xual deviant who wore his wife and daughters’ underwear and makeup and was both jealous and interested in seeing his wife have sex with other men and women. Larry was a veteran of the US army and fought in the Vietnam war.
Larry got a job as a probation officer in 1965, but he was fired after beating up an African American man he thought was sleeping with his wife. For a short time in 1988, Larry worked as a mail carrier. He quit after three months and didn’t do much work because he had already thrown away most of his mail at home.
I think it’s clear that he wasn’t a good role model for his kids. Larry didn’t give his family any of the money he made, and he bought himself things like guns, motorcycles, and cars with it. People in his extended family often had to take his kids to their homes to ask for food because they were hungry at home.
Melinda’s parents became very involved with the Graceland Baptist Church when she was five years old. Marjorie got a job as a school nurse and Larry became a lay preacher for the Baptist church.
After that, the church set up for Melinda to be taken to a motel room with a 50-year-old man for a five-hour exorcism. Larry became a marriage counselor for the church and got a bad name for being too direct with women. He even tried to r*pe one of them. After that event, the Loveless parents stopped going to church for two years.
Larry beat up Melinda’s mother and her mother put up with it. He would often take his wife to bars, where he would say he was a dentist or doctor and that she was just his girlfriend. He would make his wife sleep with his coworkers, even though she didn’t like it. Because of this, Marjorie tried to k*ill herself more than once. Melinda was only nine years old when her father gang r*ped her mother. Her mother then tried to k*ill herself by drowning.
Larry beat Marjorie so badly that she had to go to the hospital in the summer of 1986 because she wouldn’t let him go home with two women he met at a bar.
Larry liked to make his daughters feel bad by smelling their dirty underwear in front of the rest of the family. There are various claims that he fondled Melinda as an infant, she slept in his bed until he abandoned the family when she was 14 and Melinda’s cousin Teddy, who was also molested by Larry, claims he once seen Larry tie all 3 of his daughters up in the garage and molested them.
But Melinda would never talk about the abuse she went through. Marjorie hit Larry with a knife in November 1990 after he was caught spying on Melinda and a friend. He was taken to the hospital when he tried to grab the knife. Then she tried to ki*ll herself again, and her daughters called the police. After this incident, Larry filed for divorce and moved to Avon Park, Florida. Melinda was hurt, especially after Larry got married again. He sent letters to her for a while, playing on her emotions, but eventually severed all contact with her.
Shanda’s new girlfriend, Amanda Heavrin, started dating Melinda Loveless in 1990, when she was being abused by her father. As a result of her crazy behavior, Melinda often got into fights at school, said she was depressed, and had to see a counselor.
In March 1991, Melinda told her mother that she was a lesbian. Her mother was angry at first, but eventually came around. Melinda’s relationship with Amanda got worse over the course of the year. They never really broke up, but Melinda later started going out with an older girl. But when she saw Amanda and Shanda together at the school dance, she was very angry because her ex was with a new girl. Melinda spoke to Amanda and Shanda. There was a fight, but it was clear that Melinda was no longer important, and Amanda was happy with her new partner.
After the school dance, Melinda began to discuss kil*ling Shanda and would threaten her in public. Shanda of course told her parents about Melinda’s growing rage and this frightened her parents, so much so, that they had Shanda transfer schools, sending her to a Catholic school in late November.
Amanda was also receiving constant letters from Melinda containing death threats towards Shanda, which was shown to a youth prosecutor, but nothing was done about it as far as she knows. Even though Shanda had moved schools, Shanda and Amanda continued their relationship.
Now, I just want to briefly address a few of Melinda Loveless’s friends…
She was 17 years old in 1992 and was friends with Melinda Tackett. Along with her mother, her father had a history of felonies, and Laurie said that he abused her at least twice, when she was 5 and 12. Her mother was very religious, so she made Laurie wear very conservative clothes. But when she found out that Laurie was changing into jeans at school, her mother tried to choke her.
Laurie became very rebellious and became very interested in the occult. To impress her friends, she often pretended to be possessed and hurt herself. She also started dating a girl. When her mother found out that she was hurting herself, she took her to the hospital. After being freed, she tried to cut her wrists with her girlfriend two days later. Next, she was taken to a mental hospital, where she was told she had borderline personality disorder.
Laurie was discharged on April 12th and dropped out of school in September. By October, she moved by herself from Madison, Indiana and began to stay with friends in Louisville. This is when she first met Melinda in November 1991. She later moved back to Madison on the promise her father would buy her a car, but still travelled back to Louisville regularly and spent a large amount of time with Melinda.
The next friend of Melinda’s, was Hope Rippey, who was 15 years old in 1992.
In February 1984, Hope’s parents split up, and she moved to Quincy, Michigan, with her mother and siblings. Her relationship with her family was all over the place. In 1987, her parents got back together in Madison, Indiana. She got to see her childhood friends Laurie and Toni Lawrence again, even though her parents thought Laurie was a bad influence. Rippey started hurting herself when she was 15, the same age as the other girls.
The last friend in the group is Toni Lawrence.
She was also 15 years old in 1992. Like the others, she had a pretty bad childhood. When she was 9, a family member abused her, and when she was 14, a teenage boy r*ped her. After the event, she went to counseling, but she didn’t finish. Her sexuality changed, she hurt herself, and in eighth grade she tried to kil*l herself.
You can tell that all of these teens are having a lot of problems because of how they were raised and how they affect each other.
It was very cold on January 10, 1992, when Melinda Loveless asked her three friends to help her commit one of the cruelest and most senseless crimes in Indiana history.
That night, Laurie, Hope, and Toni went to Melinda’s house in the car that Laurie’s father had paid her to take back home. Even though Toni had been best friends with the other girls since childhood, she had never met Melinda before. When the girls got to Melinda’s house, she showed them a knife that she planned to use to scare Shanda and probably try to scare her. Melinda wanted to scare Shanda with the knife, and all the girls knew it. Shanda hated Melinda because she thought she was a copycat and stole her girlfriend.
The girls knew that Shanda would stay at her dad’s house in Jeffersonville on the weekends, so they went there, stopping at McDonald’s on the way to get directions. They got to the house of Shanda’s dad. But the plan went like this…Toni and Hope were told by Melinda to knock on Amanda’s door and act like they were friends of hers.
Then, they would ask Shanda to go with them to see Amanda, who was waiting for them at “the Witch’s Castle,” also known as Mistletoe Falls, a broken-down stone house on a hill with a view of the Ohio River. Shanda said she couldn’t go because her parents were still awake. They said they’d come back around midnight, at which point she could sneak out.
Even though Melinda was mad at first, the other girls told her they’d come back for Shanda later. The four girls went across the river to Louisville to see the band Sunspring play punk rock.
Toni and Hope quickly lost interest in the music and went outside to the parking lot, where they slept with two boys in Laurie’s car.
Laurie and Hope went to Shanda’s door at 12:30am when they got to her house to get her. She hid the knife under a blanket in the back seat of the car. As Amanda was still waiting for Shanda at the witch’s castle, Hope told her. But Shanda didn’t want to go. Shanda changed clothes and left her house with the girls after being talked into it.
As soon as they got into the car, Hope asked Shanda about her relationship with Amanda. She then jumped out of the back seat, put the knife to Shanda’s throat, and started questioning her about her relationship with Amanda. They took down the Witch’s Castle.
As Shanda cried, they took her inside the Witch’s Castle and tied her arms and legs together with rope. Melinda made fun of Shanda by saying she had pretty hair and made Shanda think about how pretty she would look without it, which made her even more scared.
Melinda began taking off Shanda’s rings and handed one each to the girls. At some point, Hope had taken Shanda’s Mickey Mouse watch and danced to the tune it played. Laurie further taunted Shanda, claiming that the Witch’s Castle was filled with human remains and Shanda’s would be next.
To further threaten Shanda, Laurie then retrieved a shirt with a smiley design from the car and lit it on fire, but immediately feared that the fire would be spotted by passing cars, so the girls left with Shanda.
Shanda kept pleading with them to take her home while they were in the car. Melinda told Shanda to take off her bra, and Shanda gave it to Hope. While Hope was driving, she took off her own bra and put Shanda’s on in its place. They got lost, so they stopped at a gas station and put a blanket over Shanda.
Toni called a boy she knew in Louisville to calm her down while Laurie went inside to get directions. They talked for a while, but Toni didn’t bring up Shanda’s disappearance. Going back to their car, they got lost again and stopped at another gas station. Toni and Hope saw a couple of boys there and talked to them before getting back in the car and leaving again. They arrived later at the edge of some woods near Tackett’s home in Madison.
At a trash dump in the middle of a densely wooded area, Loveless and her friends took Shanda’s clothes off, punched her several times, and sprayed her eyes with window cleaner. The girls raped and se*xually assaulted Shanda Sharer for almost eight hours, but Toni Lawrence refused to take part in the horrible act.
Shanda was yelling for help, but no one could hear her because she and her friends were on a hidden path. Shanda was abused for hours before the girls threw her into the trunk of their car. Their first attempt to slit her throat failed because Loveless’s knife was too dull. Instead, they stabbed her in the chest several times. They drove to Laurie Tackett’s house to clean up and drink soda because they thought Shanda was dead.
They didn’t know that the person they were after was screaming in the trunk of the car. After leaving the house, Tackett and Loveless got in their car and drove to a more remote area. There, they stabbed Shanda several more times and then kil*led her with a tire iron. When they got back to Tackett’s house, they told their friend Rippey a joke about what they had done.
As dawn got closer, the four of them stopped at a gas station and bought a two-liter bottle of Pepsi. They drank it and then filled it back up with gas right away.
The girls then took Shanda out of the trunk and drove to a different, more remote place. The girls then dragged Shanda Sharer to a clearing in the forest while she was wrapped in a blanket and whimpered the word “mommy” in a sad voice.
The girls filled the Pepsi bottle with gasoline and poured it on her. They then watched as she burned to death.
The ki*llers drove off, but they soon went back to the body because they thought she was completely burned up and there was no sign of her. When they saw that she wasn’t, they burned her body again. While Shanda Sharer was being tortured and ki*lled, one of the most disturbing things about this case is that the girls went to McDonald’s for breakfast right after.
The ki*llers laughed as they thought about how their sausage breakfast looked like Shanda Sharer’s burned body. Shanda’s badly hurt body was found the next morning by a local hunter named Don Foley.
At the end of the afternoon, Loveless called her ex-girlfriend Heavrin to tell her what she and her friends had done to Sharer. Heavrin thought no one could have done such a horrible mu*rder, so he made it seem like a joke.
Around this time Lawrence (who refused to participate) and Rippey went to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office where they confessed to the mur*der. The next day, mur*derous four were all in handcuffs, and the investigation had begun.
The State of Indiana decided to try all of the girls involved in the mur*der as adults and all four accepted a plea bargain from the State to avoid the death penalty.
Lawrence and Rippey, who were less involved in the torture, received 20 years and 50 years respectively and both are now out of prison.
There was a time when Tackett said, “I didn’t know Shanda at all.” I didn’t know or want anything to happen that night.
Then Tackett said that Melinda Loveless’s “peer pressure” made her do what she did.
Both Tackett and Loveless got 60 years in prison.
Laurie Tackett was released from Rockville Correctional Facility on January 11, 2018, which was the 26th anniversary of Sharer’s death. She had been there for almost 26 years and has since finished another year of parole.
Melinda Loveless got out of Indiana Women’s Prison on September 5, 2019, after being locked up for more than 26 years. She will now serve her parole in Jefferson County, Kentucky.