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SHANDA RENEE SHARER (12) - THE HEINOUS TORTURE & MURDER BY MELINDA LOVELESS (16) - MARY LAURINE "LAURIE" TACKETT (17) - HOPE RIPPEY (15) - TONI LAWRENCE (15)

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#21 [url]

Dec 18 10 9:44 PM

                                     PLEA DEAL
 
Hope Rippey accepts a plea deal with the state.
Attorneys for Rippey request a change of venue for her sentencing hearing.
 
                                    SENTENCING HEARING
 
1993 - June 1 -  St. Joseph's Superior Court House -  Judge Jeanne Jourdan
                         presiding.
 
                         Hope Rippey makes a brief statement to the court, claiming
                         "my only action against Shanda was the pouring of
                         gasoline on her body."
 
DEFENSE 
Dr. Michael Sheehan (Psychologist)
"Hope Rippey is immature and had acted solely under the domination of Melinda
 Loveless and Laurie Tackett."
 
PROSECUTION
Witnesses who testified in the sentencing of Laurie Tackett and Melinda Loveless
testify in Rippey's hearing. Under their plea agreements, Tackett, Loveless and
Lawrence also testify.
 
From their testimony, it is clear that Hope Rippey was more active in the
crimes against Shanda Sharer than she wishes to admit to.
 
                                    VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT
 
Jacque Vaught (Shanda's mother) testifies. She presents a video of Shanda
to the court. Hope Rippey has no intention of watching it, and holds her head
down. Judge Jourand orders Hope Rippey to view the presentation.
 
Jacque Vaught
"Imagine how you would feel if someone did to your niece what you did to our
child. You cannot know the pain we've felt. There is no greater pain than losing
your child."

 
Judge Jourdan
"Hope Rippey had choices. There were avenues of escape, ways to help
herself, ways to help Shanda. She poured the gasoline so no one would
get caught, even though she knew it would kill Shanda. Her lack of mercy,
of tender courage, is a horrifying lesson to us all."
 
Hope Rippey (15) is sentenced to 60 years, 10 years suspended for mitigating
circumstances, 10 years of probation upon release. Release date: 2042.
Eligible for early release with good behaviour in 2022.
 
*April, 2006 - Hope Rippey is released for good behaviour.
 
Jacque Vaught (speaking to the press)
 "I don't know what normal is anymore, I'm not the person I was when Shanda was
here. I'm going home to my new grandbaby who was just born. You have to go on.
Shanda's with God."

 

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#22 [url]

Dec 18 10 10:47 PM

                                   BEHIND PRISON BARS
 
Indiana has a policy of reducing sentences by a day for every day served with good
behavior.
 
1994 - Spring - Toni Lawrence obtains her GED.
                               
1998 - November 10 - Toni Lawrence had requested early release. Her request
                                is DENIED.
 
 2000 - Toni Lawrence obtains an Associate's Degree. This reduces her prison
           sentence by almost one year.
 
2000 - MarchDavid Lohr (Crime Library Reporter) sends a letter to Lawrence,
                       Tackett, Loveless and Rippey. He asks their opinion as to  "Why
                       someone would kill?"  
     
                        David Lohr receives two responses:
 
                        Laurie Tackett
                       "I've often wondered what motivates someone to commit murder
                       myself. No murderer has the same motivations as all the rest in
                       my opinion."
 
                       "I believe (killers) are really deep individuals who are searching for
                       some kind of release. Whether it be mental, physical or spiritual,
                       it's always release. There's always a purpose for one's actions...
                       there could be many reasons."
 
                       "Let's say, for instance, I know a couple of people who kill simply
                        for the fear that they see in their victim's eyes, and for the sight
                        of blood on their bodies..."
 
                      "My opinion is that they do it to feel superior or high on the victim's
                       fear, and they're thirsty for the spill of blood."
 
                        Toni Lawrence
                        "I think the first time one kills, they kill to get that high that they
                        could never obtain any other way."

                        Within her letter to David Lohr, she asks "So you write Laurie? How
                        about Hope — Melinda?...I don't mind about Laurie — please tell her
                        I think of her daily and that I'm ok."

This, from the same person, who claimed "they ruined my life" by brutally murdering an
innocent girl."

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#23 [url]

Dec 18 10 10:49 PM

2000 - December 14 - Toni Lawrence (24) is released on parole. She has served
                                 9 years of a 20 year sentence.

                        
                               Toni Lawrence
 
Upon release Toni Lawrence makes a brief statement to Louisville Kentucky's WAVE
Television station.

Toni Lawrence
 "I didn't stop it, I couldn't stop it. I don't care what anyone else says. If I
had tried anything different, I would've been dead, lying there with her, and
they would never know."

 
Toni Lawrence returns to Madison, IN. to reside with her parents.

2002 - December - Toni Lawrence remained on probation until this date, when she 
                            is released from parole monitoring.

2004 - Hope Ann Rippey requests a reduction in her sentence.

          Laurie Tackett will later claim that in 2004, she tried to commit suicide.


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#24 [url]

Dec 18 10 10:51 PM

2004 - Hope Ann Rippey requests a reduction in her sentence.
          Laurie Tackett will later claim that in 2004, she tried to commit suicide.

2007 - The State of Indiana Department of Corrections launches a program called
          PLUS - Purposeful Living Units Serve, a faith-based boot camp for prisoners
          is enacted within 3 prisons in the state. The program is "intended to change
          their lives through spiritual renewal and education."

                                      TACKETT "FINDS RELIGION"

2006 - March - WTHR News - Reporter Ann Ryder interviews inmates, including
                      convicted inmate Laurie Tackett (31), who was one of the first to
                      sign up.

 Laurie Tackett
"I am changing everything I have known all my life. God was the last thing I wanted
 in my life. I had no faith in life. I had no faith in God. I had no faith in people. I had
none of that. I had to fall on my face and start over."
 
"The shame of my crime defined me until I tried unsuccessfully to take my life in
the fall of 2004. I sent up a desperate prayer and felt a hand on her back and warmth
 flow through my body. It took God's hand on my back literally filling me with peace
and comfort, and I mean the most profound peace and comfort and love. I've never felt
that before in my life."
 
"I never remember having a sense of hope before. Not like I have it now. I don't feel
 like I'm doing it by myself. I feel like He's there. I feel like He's beside me. Its
something I never felt before in my life."

"I have a lot more love now. I have a lot more compassion. I have a lot more respect
for myself and for others. I have a whole new outlook on life."

"I know that a certain person I call God has given me a peace I've never felt before in
my life. For now this is all I need to know. He has given me strength when I had none,
understanding when there was none, happiness for no reason, contentment and love for
others. All of this has just recently been given to me after a lifetime of being cold and
heartless and callous.'

"I wish I would have known then what I know now because I wouldn't have had to have
so much heartache."

 (Interview with WTHR) is asked "Could you ever forgive Tackett?"

 Jacque Vaught 
"Here's where I am about forgiveness. It's just not up to me to forgive those girls.
It's up to God to forgive them."

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#25 [url]

Dec 18 10 10:52 PM

2006 - April 28 - Hope Ann Rippey (29) is freed on parole. She has served 14 years
                        of a 50 year sentence. 

Hope Rippey is now a Registered violent offender/sex offender. As such she is
photographed every year.


Jacque Vaught (Interview with the Courier- Journal)
"She tortured her. She tortured her for 10 hours . . . I do not accept this.
She murdered my daughter . . . I'm just incensed by the release,"

"Rippey lured Shanda out of the house, held her down while she was stabbed
and strangled, sprayed window cleaner into her wounds and poured gasoline
on her so the group could burn her alive."
 
"Rippey's early release was made possible because the St. Joseph County
prosecutor failed to do his job. They could have prevented Rippey's sentence
reduction if they had chosen to oppose the sentence-modification motion back
in 2004. "She poured gasoline on my 12-year-old child and burned her alive, but
she is an asset to society and has strong convictions and is ethical?"

"I don't get it. I just don't get it."
 
 
2007 - October - Attorney Mark Small (representing Melinda Loveless)
                         files a motion requesting a hearing to argue for his client's
                         release, a sentence reduction and request to overturn Loveless's 
                         guilty plea.
                         
                         In his motion he states "Melinda Loveless had been "profoundly
                         retarded" by childhood abuse and was not represented competently
                         by counsel during her sentencing, which caused her to accept a plea
                         only because of exaggerated claims about the chances of her being
                         executed.
 
                         Loveless, who was 16 when she signed the plea bargain, was too
                         young to enter into a contract in the state of Indiana without consent
                         from a parent or guardian, neither of which had been obtained."

                        Attorney Small is unable to meet with Melinda Loveless on the
                        night before the hearing, as a result, the hearing is rescheduled.


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#26 [url]

Dec 18 10 10:52 PM

2007 - December 6 - COURT HEARING 
                               
Attorney Small presents his arguments to the court. 
                                During his presentation, he claims "Melinda Loveless
                                is remorseful for her crimes."
Melinda Loveless
"I can't remember most of the legal proceedings that had taken place before
I signed my original plea deal. It had been my belief that I would receive the
death sentence if I failed to accept it."


Jacque Vaught (Shanda Sharer's mother) (Interview with WAVE3)
"Melinda Loveless holds the most responsibility for Shanda's murder. 
Melinda is...of the four girls, she is just evil...if it wasn't for her, Shanda
would still be alive. She was the one who started it all...she brutally
murdered my child, and when I say brutal, it was brutal. There were 10
hours of torture."

"I've heard from people who have been in that prison. They seem to want to
contact me, and I've heard things about Melinda, and Melinda relishes the

fact that she is Shanda's murderer. She is very proud of that."

2008 - January 8 - Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Tedd Todd presiding. Motion 
                             DENIED.

                           Melinda Loveless is eligible for parole in 2022 as set forth in
                           the original plea bargain.

                           Attorney Small files the motion with the Indiana Court of Appeals.
                           
2008 - November 14 - Indiana Court of Appeals - Motion DENIED.
                                 The Court of Appeals upholds Judge Todd's ruling.

                             Attorney Small states he will seek to have jurisdiction
                             over the case moved to the Indiana Supreme Court.


2008 - Registered Violent Offender/Sex Offender Hope Rippey now goes by the name
         "Anna." In 2008 she is employed at Sleepy Hollow Pet Ranch.


2009 -  Hope Rippey aka "Anna" - a report vaguely refers to her working at a factory.
 

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#27 [url]

Dec 18 10 10:54 PM

2010 - Lawrence now posts on Facebook and Myspace.
                 


*Amanda Heavrin, who's relationship/friendship with Shanda Sharer would have
the effect of causing a ripple effect throughout many lives because of her her ex-
girlfriend, Melinda Loveless' jealousy, also posts on Facebook.


2011 - Hope Ann Rippey's probation monitoring will cease this year.

2022 - Melinda Loveless and Laurie Tackett could be freed for good behaviour under
          Indiana's guidelines. Loveless will be 46, Tackett 47.


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