Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Death of Innocence - The Murder of Young Shanda Sharer

Witness

Toni Lawrence
Toni Lawrence

Clifton and Glenda Lawrence, later that day, were spending their Saturday evening watching television when the couple's youngest daughter, 15-year-old Toni, walked through the front door, followed by her best friend, Hope, and Hope's parents, Carl and Gloria Rippey, all with solemn faces. Before her parents could say a word, Toni began babbling incoherently, obviously upset and in a state of near shock. Concerned, Clifton instructed Glenda to take Toni to another room while he talked to the Rippeys.

Hope Rippey
Hope Rippey

Carl Rippey told Clifton that the girls had said that they had witnessed a murder earlier that day. He said the details were sketchy, but that he felt they were telling the truth. After absorbing what he had just heard, Clifton asked the Rippeys to accompany him to the police station, but they refused, insisting that they were going to talk to an attorney.

Laurie Tackett
Laurie Tackett

It was just after 9:00 p.m. when the Lawrences arrived at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in Madison. Upon learning that a young girl and her family claimed to have information regarding a murder in Jefferson County, Sheriff Shipley quickly ushered them into his office. Toni Lawrence stated that she had spent the previous night with two friends, Hope Rippey, 15, and Laurie Tackett, 17. The three had driven to New Albany in Tackett's car and picked up Melinda Loveless, 16, a friend of Tackett's whom Toni had not met before. After picking up Loveless, they had gone to a hard-core punk rock show for a few hours and then headed back toward home. Toni said that on the way back Loveless began talking about a girl named Shanda, saying that Shanda was trying to steal her girlfriend and that she wanted to kill her.

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