Death of Innocence - The Murder of Young Shanda Sharer
Hope Rippey's Sentenced Reduced
On November 3, 2004, Indiana Superior Court Judge Jenny Manier reduced Hope Rippey's prison sentence from 50 to 35 years. According to reports in The Courier-Journal, Judge Manier felt Rippey was remorseful and likely to be productive in society. In making her decision, Manier took into account Rippey's bachelor's degree from a Ball State University general studies program for inmates, along with the time she spent training seeing-eye dogs and speaking to various youth groups. With the judge's decision affirmed, Hope Rippey's earliest possible release date was changed from 2017 to 2006.
Sharer's mother, Jacque Vaught, was angered by the decision. "She's taken every class," Vaught said. "She's gotten every degree she can get, with my tax dollars, I might add. She's done everything she can to get out early. But it's just wrong." The only thing Vaught said she wanted was for Rippey and the others to serve their full sentences.
While the news of Rippey's impending release was difficult for Shanda's family to understand, their anger would once again turn to sorrow when, on May 8, 2005, Shanda's father, 52-year-old Stephen Maloy Sharer, died. The cause of death has not been publicly released; however it has been reported that he was buried in the same cemetery as his daughter.