January 11, 1992
12-year-old Shanda Sharer is tortured and burned to death by four teenaged girls
On the night of January 10, Toni Lawrence (15), Hope Rippey (15), and Laurie Tackett (17), drove to Sharer’s home to lure her into their car. Melinda Loveless (16) was also in the car, though she hid under a blanket, and reportedly wanted to kill Sharer because she believed Shared was “trying to steal her girlfriend.” (Reportedly, a girl named Amanda had recently ended her relationship with Loveless and began dating Sharer).
As the girls drove, with Sharer in the front seat, Loveless emerged from hiding in the back, pulled Sharer’s head back by her hair, and placed a knife to her throat. The group drove on, taking multiple stops to torture Sharer. Her wrists and feet were tied, her legs slashed, her head beaten with a metal rod (likely a tire iron), she was choked, and she was sodomized with a foreign object.
Lawrence was dropped off at her home sometime after the seven hours of torture but while Sharer was still alive. The remaining girls then filled a two liter soda bottle with gasoline, drove Sharer to a field in the trunk of the car, and set her on fire.
Sharer’s body was found within an hour of Lawrence being dropped off, originally mistaken for a department store mannequin. Around nine hours later, a “hysterical” Lawrence was in the police station with her parents to report the murder.
Lawrence took a plea deal in exchange for testifying against the other three girls. She was given a 20-year sentence for criminal confinement and released in 2000. Loveless and Tackett pleaded guilty to avoid a possible death penalty and were given 60-year sentences. Tackett was released in 2018; Loveless will be eligible for parole on September 5, 2019. Rippey was the last to plead guilty, confessing to pouring gasoline on Sharer. She was sentenced to 50 years in prison and released in 2006.
Mack, Justin L. “Woman convicted in 1992 slaying of 12-year-old Shanda Renee Sharer is released from prison.” Indy Star. January 11, 2018. Accessed: January 11, 2019. https://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2018/01/11/woman-convicted-1992-slaying-12-year-old-shanda-renee-sharer-released-prison/1023879001/
Quinlan, Michael. “Last teen pleaded guilty to part in 1992 murder of Shanda Sharer, 12.” The Courier-Journal [Louisville, Kentucky]. April 20, 1993
Roylance, Frank D. “Torture murder of a young girl turns a placid river town upside down.” The Baltimore Sun. June 21, 1992