There’s no time in a person’s life quite like junior high school. Those years are usually marked by confusion, overwhelming hormones, and petty teenage drama. With so much changing at once, it’s a wonder that we make it out alive.
Except some of us don’t. Because of some of that petty and childish drama, one girl would never have the chance to look back on those years with the maturity of adulthood…
When she was in the 5th and 6th grades, Shanda was a kid with lots of ties to her school community. Growing up in Kentucky, she was on the volleyball and softball teams and was a cheerleader as well. But when her mother and stepfather divorced, Shanda moved with her mother to New Albany, Indiana. Though she was still an active kid — she was on the basketball team — because she was a “new kid,” things were a little different for her.
Trouble At School
Being taken away from her friends and put in a new environment, dealing with the divorce, and the complex new emotions that came with puberty was difficult for Shanda. As a result, she was getting into conflicts at school. Early in the fall semester of 7th grade, Shanda got into a fight at school with a girl named Amanda. The fight was broken up quickly and both girls were given detention. That trip to detention would prove to be a pivotal moment for Shanda…
Shanda and Amanda had to go to detention for their altercation at the same time and, as they were stuck in that room together, they managed to put aside their differences and started to become friends. That friendship would develop even further over time as the 2 young girls began exchanging love letters just a short time later.
Unfortunately, the budding puppy love between Shanda and Amanda was fraught with problems right from the start. Before they began seeing each other, Amanda was involved with a girl named Melinda who was a few years older. Melinda was not at all happy about Amanda seeing someone new…
You Stole My Girlfriend
Though Melinda was already dating someone else, she and Amanda had never officially ended their relationship, which was apparently the source of the anger and jealousy she directed toward Shanda. In October, Melinda confronted the pair when they attended a school dance together, resulting in an embarrassing argument.
Still, Melinda couldn’t let things go with Amanda and Shanda. Later in that month, Melinda saw the two of them out together at a local festival. It was after that point that she started threatening violence against Shanda and telling others that she was going to kill her…
Melinda wasn’t the only one who had a problem with Shanda’s relationship. Between the fact that her daughter was in a homosexual relationship and the threats her 12-year-old daughter was receiving from Melinda, her mother was concerned and thought it best to put some distance between Shanda and Amanda…
Make Some Space
Shanda’s mother arranged for her to transfer to a Catholic school about a month after the threats began. For a while, it worked. Shanda no longer had to see Melinda in the hallways of her school. She no longer had to hear the gossip from other students, relaying that “Melinda said she was going to kill you.” But ultimately, it just proved to be the calm before the storm…
Let’s Scare Her
Then, on one night in January, the 16-year-old Melinda Loveless convinced 3 of her friends — Laurie Tackett (17), Toni Lawrence (15), and Hope Rippey (15) – to help her “scare” the 12-year-old Shanda. 4 girls piled into Laurie’s car and drove to Shanda’s house. 2 of the girls, who were ostensibly friends of Amanda’s, went to the door and told Shanda they were going to meet up with Amanda at the “Witch’s Castle,” the ruins of a stone home overlooking the Ohio River.
I Don’t Know If I Should
Shanda was reluctant to go at first but the girls eventually convinced her to sneak out of the house and join them after her mother was asleep. When she eventually joined the girls later that night, Melinda was hidden in the back seat of the car under a blanket with a knife in her hand. As they drove, the other three girls questioned Shanda about her relationship with Amanda…
Melinda’s anger only grew as she listened to Shanda describe her relationship with her ex until she’d had enough. Melinda sprang out from underneath the blanket and put her knife to Shanda’s throat. The terrified Shanda immediately burst into tears.
The Witch’s Dungeon
When they got inside the Witch’s Castle, Amanda was nowhere in sight. The 4 older girls bound Shanda’s hands and feet, then proceeded to taunt and terrorize her. They told her the room they were in was once a dungeon that had been filled with bodies and that she would be added to the collection soon enough…
To The Dump
After they burned up a sweater that Shanda had brought, the girls became fearful that someone might find them at the Witch’s Castle, so they brought the still-bound 12-year-old back to Laurie’s car. She begged them to take her home but instead, Laurie drove the car to a garbage dump in a densely forested area. There, the torture began in earnest.
At The Dump
At the dump, Melinda and Laurie stripped Shanda naked before Melinda began beating the younger girl, repeatedly punching her and slamming Shanda’s face into her knee. Melinda tried to slit Shanda’s throat but her knife was too dull. So while Hope held Shanda down, Melinda and Laurie took turns stabbing her in the chest. They then strangled her with a rope until she lost consciousness and placed her in the trunk of the car…
Back Home For Snacks
Laurie drove the car back to her home with Shanda, who they believed was dead, still in the trunk. They were inside drinking soda when they heard Shanda’s screams coming from the trunk. Laurie took a paring knife from the kitchen and came back a few minutes later, covered in fresh blood after stabbing Shanda again and again.
Melinda and Laurie then left the other 2 girls behind to go “country cruising.” When they heard Shanda making crying and gurgling sounds from the trunk, they stopped the car. When they opened the trunk, Shanda sat up covered in blood, with her eyes rolled back in her head. Laurie beat her with a tire iron until she was silent.
They went back to Laurie’s house and continued their grim sleepover. It was just before dawn when their laughter woke Laurie’s mother, who chastised her daughter for being out late and ordered her to take the other girls home. Instead, they went to a local gas station and filled a 2-liter soda bottle with gas, then drove to an abandoned area off of US Route 421.
They wrapped Shanda, who was somehow still alive, in a blanket, doused her with gasoline and lit her on fire. 8 torturous hours after they’d taken her from her home, Shanda Sharer was dead. Her killers went to McDonald’s for breakfast, where they joked that Shanda’s body looked like the sausages they were eating…
The girls hadn’t been smart enough to keep their mouths shut about what they’d done. Laurie called a friend and told her about the murder right there in the McDonald’s and Melinda told Amanda that she’d murdered her girlfriend the next day.
Shanda’s body was found by a couple of passersby just a few hours after she was killed. Her mother was already looking for her and would file a missing person’s report shortly after the body was found. By that evening, a Melinda was having a nervous breakdown and went to the police station with her parents to confess to the murder. All 4 girls were found guilty of murder, Melinda and Laurie each being sentenced to 60 years in prison, Toni to 20 years and Hope to 35.