Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Death of Innocence - The Murder of Young Shanda Sharer

"She is just Evil"

Melinda Loveless
Melinda Loveless

Shanda Sharer's mother, Jacque Vaught, believes Melinda Loveless holds the most responsibility for her daughter's murder. In an October 2007 interview with, Jacque said, "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."

Jacque also disagreed with statements by Small that Melinda Loveless was remorseful for her crimes.

"I've heard from people who have been in that prison," Jacque said. "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."

After reading a series of news articles published by Crime Library on the Shanda Sharer case, Brenda Nyberg, a reader from Illinois, took action and started a petition to keep Loveless behind bars.

"I've never been compelled to start a petition until I read about Loveless trying to get out," Nyberg said. "I cannot fathom a human being inflicting the torture those girls did on Shanda. I'm a crime buff and read about so many horrible cases, but none has ever affected me as this one has. I just cannot get the images of that child out of my's pure evil, no matter how old those girls were!"

By December 2, 2007, the petition had received nearly 7,000 signatures.

Melinda Loveless's hearing was held on December 6, 2007. During the proceedings, Loveless told Jefferson Circuit Judge Ted Todd that she could not remember most of the legal proceedings that had taken place before she signed her original plea deal, but that it had been her belief that she would receive the death sentence if she failed to accept it.

As of this writing Todd has yet to rule on Loveless's request.

Melinda Loveless and Laurie Tackett are currently serving out their original sentences. Whether or not Melinda will receive an early release is yet to be determined; however, because of Indiana's policy of reducing sentences by a day for every day served with good behavior, Melinda Loveless and Laurie Tackett could possibly walk out of prison in 2022, when Loveless is 46 and Tackett is 47 years old.


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