Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Death of Innocence - The Murder of Young Shanda Sharer

The Plan

By the night of Friday, Jan. 10, 1992, Melinda Loveless had reached her boiling point. Her girlfriend, 14-year-old Amanda Heavrin, had been cheating on her with Shanda, and she was fed up. It was now time for her to show them just how serious she was. Laurie Tackett was coming over, and Loveless knew that she would be more than happy to help her put a plan into action. Loveless had always thought Tackett was strange, because she dabbled in the occult and claimed to have another personality that was a vampire; but she was, after all, a devoted friend and had often talked about killing someone for the fun of it.

Tackett picked up two of her friends on the way to Loveless' house, 15-year-olds Hope Rippey and Toni Lawrence. Lawrence had never met Loveless before, and Rippey had met her only once or twice herself. When the girls arrived at Loveless', they all went upstairs and began chitchatting about what the night had in store. All of them had lied to their parents earlier that day, telling them they were spending the night at a friend's house. As the girls sat around talking, Loveless pulled a large kitchen knife out of her purse and said she was going to use it to scare someone. She then told Rippey and Lawrence about the problems she had been having with Shanda Sharer.

Loveless obtained Sharer's address, and before long the girls were en route to her house. They had a difficult time locating it, but after asking directions a few times they eventually found it and parked half a block away. Since Rippey and Lawrence had never met Sharer, Loveless instructed them to go to the door, claiming to be friends of Amanda Heavrin. Loveless wanted the girls to lure Sharer out to the car. When the girls knocked on the door, Sharer answered. Lawrence and Rippey explained to her that they were friends of Heavrin, and that she was waiting for her at a deserted stone building in the woods called the Witches' Castle. Sharer said she could not go then because her parents were up, but told them she would sneak out around midnight if they wanted to come back. Lawrence and Rippey agreed and headed back to the car. Loveless was angry that Sharer was not with them, but she calmed down when they told her about Sharer's plan. Since they had time to kill, the girls decided to go to a concert at a nearby state park.

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