Ringleader of 4 women jailed for torture-murder of 12-year-old girl is released

The ringleader of four women imprisoned for the 1992 Indiana torture and murder of a thirteen-year-old girl is back on the streets, along with her fellow co-conspirators. She served less than half of her sentence.
Melinda Loveless in 1992, ringleader in Sharer
 torture-murder (Madison County Sheriff's Offices)
Melinda Loveless, the ringleader in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of a twelve-year-old girl in 1992, has been released on parole after serving twenty-six years of a sixty-year sentence. Her co-conspirator  "Laurie" Tackett, considered the most brutal of the group, served twenty-six-years of a sixty-year sentence plus one year of parole; in January 2019 she was a free woman. Tackett's friend Hope Rippey assisted in the murder; she served fourteen years of a thirty-five-year sentence, released from prison in 2006. Toni Lawrence, who knew Rippey but none of the others, pled to one count of criminal confinement. She assisted in the
Shanda Sharer, 
tortured and murdered
abduction. After assisting law enforcement with solving the murder, Lawrence served nine years and was released on December 2000, then served two years parole. She is now a free woman.
The crime shocked the small town of New Albany, Indiana due to the perpetrator's ages and the viciousness of the crime. It included a lesbian love triangle, child sexual abuse, and destroyed the "it can't happen here" feeling of a small community. When the perpetrators were released, the crime seemed to be occurring all over again.
On January 10, 1992, Mary "Laurie" Tackett, seventeen, joined Hope
Toni Lawrence, 1992
(Madison County Sheriff's Offices)
Rippey and her best friend Toni Lawrence, both fifteen, in assisting sixteen-year-old Melinda Loveless in the abduction of twelve-year-old Shanda Renee Sharer. Shanda and Melinda had been fighting over a girlfriend, and the original plan was to kidnap Shanda, scare her, and make her stop seeing the girlfriend. The girls drove to Sharer's father's home late that night in Tackett's car; they lured Sharer away with promises to visit the girlfriend. In the car,  they took Sharer at knifepoint to a secluded area. They forced Sharer to strip and robbed her of her jewelry. The group then randomly drove around the rural area.  Tackett and Loveless took turns beating Sharer.  Throughout the night, the girls took turns
Laurie Tackett, 1992
(Madison County Sheriff's Offices)
torturing Sharer by beating her, attempting to stab her and cut her throat with a dull knife, and strangling her into unconsciousness. Lawrence and Rippey went to stay at Tackett's home, where they had a short conversation with Tackett's parents, never mentioning Sharer. Loveless and Tackett drove through the country, occasionally stopping to beat Sharer with a tire iron, including sodomizing the girl with the tool. The next morning, three of them took part in burning Shanda Sharer alive while Toni Lawrence watched from the
Hope Rippey, 1992
(Madison County Sheriff's Offices)
car.
All four girls were charged as adults and pled guilty to avoid the death penalty. Tacket was released on the 26th anniversary of Shanda Sharer's death. They all reportedly reside in the same area where the crime was committed.

Comments