Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Death of Innocence - The Murder of Young Shanda Sharer


It was after 12:30 a.m. by the time the girls made their way back to Sharer's house. Lawrence did not want to go back up to the door, so Rippey and Tackett agreed to go. Loveless was the only one of the bunch that Sharer knew, so she hid in the back seat under a blanket. Sharer was waiting at a side door when Tackett and Rippey walked up. They explained that Heavrin was still waiting for her and that she had sent them back to pick her up. Sharer was hesitant at first, but Rippey was able to convince her to go, and soon they were all getting into Tackett's car. Lawrence slid out of the front passenger seat so that Sharer could sit in the middle, and they were on their way. Tackett explained to Sharer that the Witches' Castle was a short drive away in Utica, and that it used to be the home of nine witches who controlled the town. As they drove to the castle, Rippey asked Sharer questions about Heavrin and their relationship. Sharer said that they had been going out for quite a while and that she really cared about her. Suddenly, Loveless popped her head from the backseat, grabbed Sharer by the hair and placed the knife to her throat. Sharer cried and begged Loveless not to hurt her, but for the remainder of the ride Loveless berated her and repeatedly referred to her as a "bitch," all the while holding the knife tightly against her throat.

The Witches Castle
The Witches Castle

Sharer was sobbing uncontrollably by the time they reached the Witches' Castle. Loveless and Tackett pulled her out of the car and held her arms tightly as Rippey and Lawrence illuminated the trail to the castle with lighters. Once inside, Loveless tied Sharer's hands as Rippey taunted her with the knife. Loveless then took several pieces of Sharer's jewelry, which she and Lawrence put on. Rippey decided she liked a musical Mickey Mouse watch Sharer was wearing, so she took it for herself.

It was dark in the castle, so Tackett took an old t-shirt and started a fire. As the flames grew, Tackett pointed at the fire and told Sharer that that was what she was going to look like before the night was over. Sharer was so frightened that she could not even speak; she just sobbed uncontrollably. Tackett was growing nervous as several cars drove by the castle and suggested they leave and go to another place by her house, so the girls dragged Sharer back to the car and drove off with their prisoner.

When the girls stopped at a Five Star station, Sharer was stuffed behind the back seat and covered with a blanket as Loveless stood guard. Tackett pumped gas while Rippey went inside to pay, and Lawrence made a phone call to a friend. During the conversation, Lawrence mentioned nothing of Sharer being held captive. For someone who later claimed to be very distraught over the night's events, she made no attempt to seek help. As soon as Lawrence hung up the phone, the group hit the road again.

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