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March 16, 2023 38 mins

The 1992 murder of 12-year old Shanda Sharer is considered one of the most disturbing cases in recent history. In January of that year, four teenage girls abducted, tortured, and burned Shanda alive in a jealous rage. We discuss this gruesome case with writer Aphrodite Jones, who wrote a book about the murder and its aftermath.

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
You're listening to Facing Evil, a production of iHeartRadio and
Tenderfoot TV. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast
are solely those of the individuals participating in the show
and do not represent those of iHeartRadio or Tenderfoot TV.
This podcast contains subject matter which may not be suitable
for everyone. Listener discretion is advised. Hi, everyone, welcome back

(00:28):
to Facing Evil. I'm Yvette Gentile and I'm Rasha Peccarero.
This week, we are talking about a truly shocking case,
and that's the case of Shonda Sharer, who, at the
age of twelve, was abducted, tortured, and killed by four
teenage girls. Yeah. This is a case of teenage bullying

(00:49):
gone completely off the deep end, and it's been the
subject of at least two true crime books and a
play featuring Chloe Savagner, and many poems about this as well.
And I think what fascinates everyone, or so it seems,
is how this crime was perpetuated by teenage girls. I mean,

(01:11):
mean girls is an understatement on this case. It's the
original mean girls, right, Yeah, And so we're going to
be getting into that today, and we're also going to
be talking with our guest who is a author and journalist.
She is Aphrodite Jones, and she's written a book about

(01:33):
this case. But first our producer Trevor is going to
take us through today's case. Jackie Vaught's daughter Shanda, was
kidnapped and murdered in nineteen ninety two by four teenage girls.
Court testimony showed some of the girls had been abused
by their parents. It turns into anger. If you keep
that hurt and don't let it go or don't forgive

(01:54):
that person, that hurt can turn into anger and hate
and make you do things that you would never really do.
That evening, there were four girls there that had a
lot of hatred inside of them, and it just all exploded.
Shanda Sharer was a twelve year old girl who was
killed in nineteen ninety two by four other girls in Madison, Indiana.

(02:18):
The year before, she and her family had just moved
to the nearby town of New Albany, Indiana. That fall,
she met a girl named Amanda Hevron. Soon they began
exchanging romantic letters, and in October they went to a
dance together. At the dance, they were confronted by another
girl named Melinda Loveless. Loveless was older sixteen. The previous spring,

(02:44):
she and Amanda had been romantically involved, and although the
relationship had fizzled out, they had never formerly ended things.
Seeing Amanda at the dance with someone else, Melinda got angry.
Melinda had a difficult home life with a violent and
sexually abusive father. She was close friends with seventeen year
old Laurie Tackett, who also had a difficult time at

(03:07):
home and had dropped out of high school that year.
Also in their orbit were two other girls named Hope
Rippy and Tony Lawrence, who were both fifteen years old.
The night of January tenth, nineteen ninety two, the four
girls were hanging out and Melinda Lovelace told the girls
that she was going to use a knife to scare Shanda,

(03:28):
a girl they'd never met. She wanted to intimidate Shanda
for dating her girlfriend. The girls drove to Shanda's house,
where Tony Lawrence and Hope Rippy went to the door
and told Shanda they were friends of Amanda's and that
Amanda wanted to meet her at a building known locally
as the Witch's Castle, an abandoned stone house by the

(03:49):
Ohio River. When she got in the car with them,
Lawrence held a knife to Shanda's throat. The girls drove
to Witch's castle and dragged a sobbing Shanda inside. There,
Melinda Loveless tied Shanda's hands as Rippy taunted her with
the knife. The girls took her jewelry and a Mickey
Mouse watch that she was wearing. Later, Melinda Loveless and

(04:13):
Laurie Tackett made Shanda stripped down to her underwear. Then
the girls began assaulting her, punching her and taking turns
stabbing her in the chest. Then they strangled her with
a rope until she passed out, and then put her
in the trunk. At one point, Shanda began screaming from
the trunk, and so Laurie Tackett went to go stab

(04:34):
her again with a pairing knife. Melinda Loveless reportedly laughed
and bragged about the torture to her friends, and finally
the girls drove Shanda to a secluded area where they
poured gasoline on her and lit her on fire. Shanda's
body was found by two hunters and they alerted the police.

(04:55):
The next day. Hope, Rippy and Tony Lawrence went to
the County Sheriff's office and gave statements describing the night before.
They put most of the blame on Melinda Lovelass and
Laurie Tackett. All four girls went to trial and entered
plea bargains to avoid the death penalty. Melinda and Laurie
were tried as adults and we're both sentenced to sixty

(05:17):
years in prison. However, they were released on parole in
twenty nineteen and twenty eighteen, respectively. Hope Rippy received a
thirty five year sentence and was released on parole in
two thousand and eight. Tony Lawrence received twenty years and
was released on parole in two thousand and So what

(05:37):
led to the murder of Shanda Sharer and how could
four teenage girls be driven to torture and kill another
person so violently? Hello everyone, We are so pleased to
welcome our guests for today's case. Writer, journalists and crime

(05:58):
expert Afrodite Jones is here with us today. She has
written a book on the case of Shanda Sharer entitled
Cruel Sacrifice. She's also written numerous other true crime books,
including The FBI Killer and A Perfect Husband. Many of
Aphrodite's books have been made into films and television shows,

(06:20):
and she even produced her own show, True Crime with
Aphrodite Jones, which ran for six seasons on Investigation Discovery.
The list of amazing credentials goes on and on and on. So,
without further ado, Aphrodite a komo mai or welcome to
facing evil. Thank you. I've been used to facing evil

(06:44):
my whole professional life. Oh you and us both, Aphrodite,
who we got a lot to talk about. I'm not
kidding when I say that. You know that, right? Yeah,
we know. Well now that we know a little bit
about you, Aphrodite. You know, of course we want to
talk today about Shanna, but we want to learn even
more about you. So we fell into true crime because

(07:09):
of our lineage and its connection to our mom's story.
How did you fall into true crime? Like how did
you first get interested in it? Like? What led you
to this, you know, facing evil of your own? Well,
it was it was honestly a calling. It was for me,
It was a fluke. I was living in Kentucky, Appalachia
at the time. I was a professor at college, and

(07:31):
I also did a radio gig because I always was
involved with media and broadcasting. So I was doing a
radio gig as well, and an FBI agent killed his
lover informant and became the first FBA agent in history
and still to this day to cop a murder plagued manslaughter.

(07:51):
He led them to her bones. She was pregnant and
threatening him and a mountain woman in other words, hillbilly
right back then, So I'm like, okay, where's the news
the time magazine didn't have it. Newsweek had a blurb
this big and I just understand, like, we're CNN. Where
is everybody? Why? This is a historic case? So I

(08:15):
called my agent. I had an agent hadn't be written
a book about the entertainment business, because that's the business
side was in and wanted to be in the same, understand,
But let me talk to killers and monsters, you know,
and people who've lost family members. That was not in
the cards. I thought, right anyway, called the agent. He said, oh,
you can't do anything about this. This is a big story,

(08:36):
and Rule's going to be calling. I thought, who the
hell is a rule? At that time, That's how little
I knew about, right, I said, you don't read this.
I did a PhD in literature. No, there was no
true crime on the list at MWREU so ps she
He said, well, reading Coblood, I did, and somehow thought
at that time I could do this, and I wound up,
you know, interviewing a family. It became a TV movie

(08:56):
with Patarkatu Stephen Webber, and the book was incredibly successful.
And then I hit on Curl Sacrifice, and when that happened,
I went to the New York Times list. I kind
of got stuck with the genre right in particular writing
Curl Sacrifice. When I looked back at it, and I
did look back last night in preparation for this, that

(09:18):
was the hardest book probably that I ever wrote, because
of the subject matter. Of course, I really didn't want
another writing true crime book after that. I really did not.
I was so mentally drained, emotionally drained from the whole experience.
You know, I was able to see the car that
Chanda was in. I was taken to the evidence area

(09:40):
where that car was in a lot, and they opened
that trunk and dry blood was still there, and you
could smell it, and you could see areas where she
tried to scratch her way through because those old cars
in those days, you could get through the backseat through
the speakers, and this poor girl was trying to do

(10:01):
that right, you know when they asked me, did I
want to see the trunk? Wasn't expecting that. Then what
happened was when I got to the Hope Rippi's sentencing
hearing in South Bend, Indiana, a writer came up to
me and said, I'm writing this book. And I said, well,
good luck to you. I said, good luck to you,

(10:22):
you know, like I'm working with the family. I said, okay,
good luck to you, yeah, and did another name of
the book. At the time, I just knew that Jackie
bought the mom was working with this writer, and in
my mind I had no choice. But also the story
was really to talk to these girls. That was the story.
What happened these children's lives. They're fifteen and sixteen years old.

(10:46):
What could have happened in these girls lives? They could
possibly have made them do this? And in particular obviously
Middlinda Loveless because she was the ringleader. So I wrote
to her, oh you did, oh yeah, and Linda answered,
and when we comes here and I have to say
back then, I've seen pictures of her recently where she

(11:07):
was released. She was gorgeous in person. She's not photogenic.
Her pictures do not do her justice. This girl was
drop dead gorgeous. I mean sixteen, but she was absolutely stunning.
And I could not believe I'm sitting there with this
beautiful girl who's telling me, Oh it was it was
so sad. Yeah, she was just so nonchalant about it.

(11:29):
I was just like, that's how it was back then.
I'm like, back then, you're sixteen. When was back then
when you were six Yeah, so weird. But she wanted
she wanted me to tell the story, and she connected
me with her mom, who I worked with, you know,
for quite a while. And obviously then the police and

(11:49):
the evidence and all the rest of the interviews that
came in. It was it was tough. I can only
imagine Aphrodite like, you know, I'm just sitting here listening
to everything that you're saying and taking it in, and
you know, this crime was so incredibly brutal, you know,
and when we think about it, it was in nineteen

(12:10):
ninety two, Like Rash and I were both in Hawaii,
so I hadn't heard of it at all. But the
fact that these girls, right, were so young and we've
all been through mean girls, teenage bullying. But the extremeness
the torture in which you were just talking about, right, Melenda,

(12:34):
like what they did to Shanda, how do we comprehend that?
You know from you writing your book and interviewing, like,
how did you so? First and foremost, I realized that Melenda,
who was the ringleader, was the only person who wanted
to have this done, so it had to be her backstory.

(12:55):
I knew there's something in her background that's horrific, which
there was and is apart from that, and her mother
admitted to me that she was a masochist, and I
just she know, the mother was raped by various people.
The father raped the mother in front of the girls.
There was a lot of sleeping with the girls, pistol whipping,
you know, craziness in that household that they later discovered.

(13:17):
But also the thing that struck me was Lorie Tackett
was out for blood. She was a ticking time pond.
So when Melinda Lovelace connected with Lorie Tackett, she found
the person she needed. Tony Lawrence and Hope Rippy were
just in the car for the ride down from Madison

(13:38):
to No Opening. That's a pretty long ride right now.
It's not a fifteen in you know drive away. It's
an hour plus two I almost it's quite a bit
of a distance. So you know, those girls went along
for a ride. They don't even know what they're getting
into until they got to Melinda's house, who they've never
met in their lives. And Melinda says, I just she

(13:58):
pulls out that knife. I'm going to scare Shanda. They
don't even know who Shanda is. They don't none of
them have met Shanda first and foremost. You have to
say to answer your question that this has to do
with partially with peer pressure, because the other two girls
that didn't have really either dog in the spite or
a blood lust. How did they wind up participating? And

(14:20):
that's an interesting dynamic here because we see how people
I don't know drop like lemmings, especially when they're teenagers.
The other thing with teenagers, as we all know, everything
is the end of the world, right yeah, yeah, there's
no tomorrow here. Everything is the end of the world.

(14:41):
And it's all you met somebody two seconds ago and
your best friends, I love her, hello for yesterday. But
this is like she's so great that so you have
all these weird mixture of elements that you know, you
couldn't say bullying. I mean, Shandon was bullied in the school, right,

(15:03):
Melinda was after her. But this goes beyond any kind
of bullying. Let's face it. This is one of the
worst crimes in the history of teenagers. It really, truly is.

(15:34):
I have so much respect for you that you can
go in as you know, basically as a journalist with
open eyes and not look at Melinda or any of
these other young girls because they were young girls that
did this horrific, unthinkable thing. But again I don't want

(15:54):
to give them a free pass because of their history
and their home life, but had to affect what they
did to Shanda, right, like you said, it wasn't just bullying, like,
this was something deeper, something horrific had been done to
these young girls. Well, so, Melinda, we believe was sleeping
with their father. We know they slept in the same bed.

(16:16):
She never admitted that he actually had sex with everybody.
We know he had sex with the other two daughters
and the mother had sex. He raped the mother in
front of the three girls. All that went on. Also
there was allegations that he had molested her cousins. So
out of all the females in that household, she's the
only one who didn't admit to that. When her parents

(16:39):
got a divorce and Larry Lovelace left the house, Melinda
now felt like she's deserved by the only man that
she cares about. Clearly she's in love with her father,
and yes, I'm sure she was, you know, being molested
thinking that this was okay in this incestuous relationship, because
kids don't know what to think, especially if they've been

(16:59):
groomed from a young age. Just sitting happen when she
turned sixteen. This is going on from the time she's
a little girl, and with her older sisters. Now I
found out from the older sisters who I spoke with.
So when you when you're in that scenario and you're
your only person in the world who you trust, who
you think is your protector, and your love of your

(17:22):
life leaves. Now, obviously she doesn't trust men. So that's
why she's with a girl. She's with a Manda Heron
and now Amanda Heron, who she had been holding onto
for dear life right as her person in the world
who had, you know, more of a butch. Look, if
you want to use that word, you know, the backwards
baseball hat, the very short hair, the whole opposite of

(17:45):
Melinda with the long Floyd locks. And so it was
a male figure in her life as well. And now
that person is leaving her for some little girl, whoever
that little girl is. In Melinda's mind, it's not a
little girl. It's a competition. They didn't separate themselves from
whether they're fifteen or twelve. Yeah, and that's interesting because
you know, you think of, oh, that's the way it
is today. All these kids are produced and they mix

(18:06):
it up and Matt, no, this is a big going
on from the beginning of time. Right, we were having
this conversation about another case. And if you think about
everything that you just said about what Melinda had gone
through as a child, and if you treat someone like
a dog, they're gonna behave like a dog. Melenda, she

(18:27):
didn't know what love is, but she believed that she
loved Amanda. And now Amanda is leaving her as well.
And that's another thing. People redirect anger, right, So rather
than putting the anger toward her mother, who allowed all
of this and who admitted to me that she was
a masochist and allowed herself to be raped in front
of these girls, etc. Etc. And have swinging partners and

(18:51):
other people brought into the house and the girls hearing
all of it and knowing the house is small. So
Melinda is thinking that the world is upside down. For her,
it doesn't make any sense to her. She needs some
kind of validation and that's what she got from Amanda heron.
So now her validation goes away. Now her she doesn't

(19:14):
know what to do with life. And again, you know,
with teenagers at the end of the world. For her,
it was the end of the world. She had to
eliminate this competition at whatever cost. She didn't care, right, Yeah,
I mean it's amazing. You know. You look at the
letters she wrote, and one of them, which was read

(19:34):
in the court, said I want Shanda dead. It was
very specific. Wow, it's not like it was a laughter
thought for her. This was premeditated, cold blooded kill. That's
what this was. Yeah, this was not the lord Shanda
from her house. Melinda was hiding in the backseat of

(19:54):
the car under a blanket, and then once Shanda got
in that car, Melinda jumps out the knife to her throat,
pulling her back from the back from the front seat,
and she had told the other girls that she just
wanted to scare Shanda. Lori Tackett, I'm sure knew more
than that. The other two girls who were along for
the ride did not. They really had no idea what

(20:18):
they were getting into. Those two girls would never have
done this, I'm convinced of that, had they not been
in that car, had they not been kind of prodded
along the way. Do you need to think about two
And I'm making any excuses for them because we know
Hope Rippy poured the gasoline on Shanda. Part of the
reason there was so much torture, I think is that

(20:40):
these girls really didn't know how to kill someone. They
thought that they had killed her after they stabbed her
a few times and pulled the rope around her neck,
thinking that they strangled her. And next thing I know,
she's banging in the back of the car. But now
you have two other girls in the back seat here
in Shanda. What are they thinking? Am I going to

(21:01):
be next? Like? Look what they just did to this
little girl. We don't know Melinda, they never met before.
She's holding her knife to Shandah's neck and threatening at
that witch's castle that she's going to put her in
with a bag of bones with the other bones. And
the girls at that point all chimed in because that
was just kind of having fun, you know, it was
a game to them in the beginning. They drummed this

(21:24):
whole thing up and they scared her. This is just
a whole another level of cruelty. And when I think about,
like for me thinking about this case, and it's probably
it may be different for you because you were, you know,
right in the mix of it, you know, interviewing, and
you wrote a book about it. But do you think

(21:44):
that these girls should have been tried as adults? Absolutely.
I met with one of their lawyers, and I'll never
forget he said to me, this is a mind field
out there. Every time you get another team who's coming
to you for whatever in the violation crime, they've committed
act of violence. They're just waiting to blow up. Now,

(22:06):
this was thirty years ago. It's funny that right now
we say that about now right, we see school players.
Those didn't even exists back then in nineteen ninety two,
when this book in ninety three was being written and
came out. There was a schoolhouse shootings, yet there was nothing.
So when this lawyer said to me, I face a
mind feel out there. Every time. You know, he represented juveniles.

(22:30):
Every time another juvenile came to him for defense, he
would see what was behind their mask and the vulnerability
and sadness and just lack of ability to cope with life. Yeah. Yeah,
that does not mean that you can go and take
someone else's life and give you any excuses. No, absolutely not.

(22:53):
There's no getting around that. What these girls did, and
they all participated, and the way that Tony Lawrence who
eventually turned on the girls and was the chief in
getting these guilty. Please Tony Lawrence and Hope Rippy they
went to her house right, yeah, and they were there

(23:15):
for two three hours while Melinda and Laurie went country driving.
So once they left the house, and here's Hope and
Tony very safe, why aren't they not calling the police?
I mean, I can understand you're scared because you're for
your own life. Okay, but how about Shanda, how about
what's going on right now? You don't tell your parents?

(23:37):
Oh my god, this girls are crazy. There's a girl
in the trunk you don't say anything. Yeah, yeah, you
just sit there and read run stones and be in
a magical, bizarre world. It's incomprehensible to me. Even Amanda,
they had told her right to look in the trunk,
and she still didn't call the family. That's after the fact,

(24:02):
Hope and Tony Lawrence had the ability to shave save
Shanda's life. When Amanda was shown that trunk. It was
all over all, it was all done. Yes, that was
later No, no, No, Tony Lawrence and Hope Rippy and
Tony got away with really murder in the sense that
she only did ten years out of twenty. They could

(24:23):
have stopped this, Yeah, And there were other opportunities. They
had stopped at gas stations. They were at a punk
rock thing in Louisville for a few hours waiting to
go back to Trude Shanda. There were numerous times that
they got lost driving around where they had the opportunity
to stop it or to get out of it. Yeah,
even though they didn't live down there. I understand you're

(24:46):
not supposed to have driven two and three hours away
that you're sixteen and fifteen years old. You don't want
to get in trouble with your parents and this now.
But once they got back to Madison, Indiana, they're safe
and they're in Tony's house. So why would Tony Lawrence
go along with knowing that Laurie Melinda are going to

(25:08):
kill her. Let's talk about their sentencing. Tell us how

(25:32):
you felt about the sentencing that the girl's got. I
think that even the Hope Rippy went along for the
ride and didn't know what she was getting into, Hope
allowed this to happen. And when Hope participated with Laura
Tackett taking that two lead bottle of soda, dumping it
out on the ground of a gas station a circle

(25:54):
k and filling that with gasoline, that's not Maybe I
don't know. Maybe you know that's deliberate knowing you are
going to kill someone. Now, yeah, they may have thought
she was already dead. Who knows. It doesn't matter. At
what point does it become your fault. That's when it
became Rippy's fault, because not only does she failed out

(26:16):
to lead her bottle with gasoline, but then she followed
through when they got Shandon and put her in that field,
pouring that gasoline all over the child and letting Lorie
light the match. You know that Shanda died of smoke inhalation. Yeah,
because she fought like she fut I mean, she fought
she was alive when they wrapped her in a blanket

(26:36):
and put her in that field. And then not only that, Melinda,
who is absolutely a savage, she realized I don't think
she's burned enough and had them turned back around and
lighted again. Wow. And one of the things that happened
to me when I was researching this book, as I
spent a lot of time in courtrooms, I spent a

(26:57):
lot of time in evidence rooms, et cetera, and of
court clerk came to me and she said, okay, you
want to see this video. I was like, yeah, she
because you want me to sit with you while you
watch it. Wow, And that's okay, that's okay. It was
the video of the hunters who found Shanda. And as
I'm looking at this thing and realizing she did look
like a mannequin that was burned, and the closer and

(27:20):
they got I mean, the pictures I show in the
book are not anywhere near how horrific this image really was.
I mean, her face was I don't know how to
explain this in politically correct terms. But it was black
as coal. It was like the color of my hair,
but all bubbled up and you know, just horrifying. Unfortunately,

(27:43):
I can never get that image out of my head. Yeah,
you can never unsee that. I don't even like to
revisit this story, honestly, I can only imagine. I can
completely understand why, yeah, you know, And then I think
about how Jackie got eventually forgave Linda Lovelace. That is

(28:04):
stunning to me. I presume Jackie did that for her
own sanity, long before Melinda was released, and Linda was
only released in twenty nineteen. This forgiveness and helping me
Linda by giving her a dog called Angels so she
could train these dogs to help disabled people and children.
That a metholishes whatever it was. I'm sorry, no, right, Yeah,

(28:32):
we talk about that, you know, a lot, in facing evil,
and we always end, you know, with anymuah. And Jackie
is an emua herself, because, like you just said, to
be able to forgive someone who brutally tortured your daughter
is I can't comprehend it, but we've seen it many

(28:53):
times before, you know, with Judy Shepherd, who was Matthew
Shepherd's mom that you know, there's I guess I could
never speak for them, but there has to be some
type of closure for them. I have encouraged victim's mother's Okay,
try to forgive so that they are not suffering, because
the longer they suffer throughout the rest of their lives,

(29:16):
the more of this person who did this has hold
over you. Right, so you're continually revictimized by what this
person did, and it's just a record that's going in
your head all the time. So I think what Jackie
Bot did there. Because Melinda was using training dogs to
help other people, this was the idea in her mind.
She was able to finally go there. But you know,

(29:39):
Steve Sharer, her father drank himself to death and died
at fifty two years old. I mean, I think about that,
the guilt that this man felt for allowing his daughter
to go to the front door, not once but twice.
But he knew those girls didn't know his daughter because
they asked is Shandy. Year when Shanda opened the door

(30:01):
and he heard any questioned her and he says, who
are these people? He realizes they don't know his daughter.
Now I have to believe, and I mean my heart
breaks for Steve Shearer that he could never forgive himself
for that. But at the end of the day, of course, yes,
you know, we can all you know, look back and
be like, you know, Steve should have done this, the

(30:23):
four girls should have done that, I mean, all these things.
But really, at the end of the day, sadly it
was those four girls that ended Shanda's life, of course,
But I think again, and we always, you know, we
do this on facing evil, like we have to look
for that light in the dark, right, like you said,

(30:44):
like that stunning gem of a human that Jackie had
to be to forgive Melinda, to forgive her ex Steve
to move onward and upward, and that's what he more
on means, to move onward and upward, like we have too,

(31:04):
like and we always want to focus on the victim.
But it's so hard. We didn't know much about Shanda,
she was only twelve. Well, and that's you know, I mean,
that's the other thing here too, is when you talk
about facing evil, if you don't face it in a
way that you can get past it, then for example,

(31:25):
Melinda was dealing with evil in her household all her life, right, yes,
and the evil that transpired there she now projected onto
someone else. So whether it eats your soul, whether it
makes you become angry and somebody who's going to lash
out and do horrible things to other people because you've interviewsed,

(31:48):
now you're going to abuse your kids or whatever, and
that chain of violence and that chain of abuse that
goes on, somebody's got to stop and say I can
face this, I can get past this. Yeah. Yeah, Just
going back to Shanda's mom, right, Jackie, because you know
we're talking about her father, and we know that they

(32:09):
were divorced, you know, and living in separate households. But
the thing about Shanda's mom is she did everything right.
Talking about a sacrificial lamb. I mean, Shanda had no
idea what she was dabbling in there, right, no idea.
And Amanda Heaven swears up and down that it was
Shanda who went to her, that Shanda went after her,

(32:30):
that Shanda had been dating boys, that's Shanda was sexually active.
I'm not saying she certainly could have been sexually active
at twelve years old. I don't know why she's going
from boys to girls at twelve years old, I don't
know that twelve year olds necessarily are sexually with it, right,
You know there's a whole other element of stuff here,
like what is happening here? Yeah? So much to ye,

(32:53):
so so much to unpack. Yeah, before we wrap things up, Aphrodite,
I would love to ask you, just because of everything
you've so brilliantly shared with us today, how do you decompressed? Like,
how are you going to walk out of this interview
after this and go on with your life with things?

(33:15):
You know? You can't unsee certain things or think in
your head. There are a couple of things I'm going
to say about this. When I wrote this book, I
was a drinker, and I did this book throughout the night,
writing until two or three o'clock in the morning. I
wrote it very quickly and in a frenzy. After that,
I had to give up drinking because I was drinking

(33:37):
so much that this book had consumed me. And I
don't I don't drink. I haven't drank it thirty years.
So congratulations, thanks, But talk about a mind vendor. You know,
this story in particular, I didn't know how I was
going to get past it and even to write it.
What I had to do to get through it. It

(33:58):
was so hard for me, But at the same time,
I knew this story had to be told because we
had to look at what's going on with teenagers, because
it wasn't just more girls. And yes, they've done the
most horrible thing of any team I could think of,
but all these other teenagers the minefield were still out
there and nobody was really paying attention to it. Back then,

(34:19):
it was like, I don't know, everybody's good, we're all
and no, they weren't good. And I think the idea
of parents paying more attention of parents and not trying
to blame the parents, but just getting the lesson about this.
And it wasn't just not just Shanda's parents, what about
all the other parents. And I promised myself one thing

(34:41):
that when I was not writing and I would never
write on a weekend again, which that book I wrote
Warning New Night weekends. I decided, I'm never writing past
five o'clock at night anymore. Ever, i am never writing
on a weekend, and I am going to shut myself off.
I'm going to have two lives, two lives in which

(35:02):
I'm dealing with this horror and all the monsters I've
dealt with since the killers that I'm on the phones with.
I can't imagine writing a new book now. But when
I finished the chapters, and when my day ends, I
go often to Judge Judy Lands. That's Land, I go
off voting or whatever concert. I am not there anymore,

(35:26):
you know, I can't be good. Yeah, thank you after diety, guys,
so nice to talk with you both. Today's message of
hope and healing goes out to someone whose life was
turned into a living nightmare in January nineteen ninety two,

(35:46):
and that was Jackie Vot, Shanda's mother. Shanda was, by
all accounts, a well adjusted girl who just got involved
with the wrong people. For many years, Jackie Vot quite
understandably didn't want anything to do with her daughter's killers.
Then in two and twelve, she saw a videotape of
Melinda Loveless behind bars training service dogs, and she says

(36:10):
she saw something new in her eyes, compassion. And then
Jackie Vot did the unthinkable. She donated a puppy to
the prison service animal training program in her deceased daughter's name,
and she even let Melinda train her. The puppy's name
was Angel and she changed things for Melinda. Melinda had

(36:33):
been on a path of growth for years and was
remorseful now of her crime. Melinda said of Jackie, she
helped me to heal and grow. She did a good
thing and I couldn't think her enough. And I'm doing
it for Shanda. Jackie Vot still has no plans to
meet her daughter's murderers, but this small act of reaching

(36:55):
out was an unbelievable act of compassion, a bright spark
in the dark. And so Jackie Vat today we honor you.
Onward and upward, Emua emua. Well, that is our show

(37:16):
for today. We'd love to hear what you thought about
today's discussion and if there is a case that you'd
like us to cover, find us on social media at
Facing Evil Pod or email us at Facing Evil Pod
at tenderfoot dot tv. And one request, if you haven't already,
please find us on iTunes and give us a good
review and a good rating. If you like what we do,

(37:38):
your support is always cherished. Until next time. Loha, Facing

(37:58):
Evil is a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV. The
show is hosted by Russia Peccarero and a Vetchantile. Matt
Frederick and Alex Williams our executive producers on behalf of iHeartRadio,
with producers Trevor Young and Jesse Funk, Donald Albright and
Payne Lindsay our executive producers on behalf of Tenderfoot TV,

(38:19):
alongside producer Tracy Kaplan. Our researcher is Carolyn Talmidge. Original
music by Makeup and Vanity Set. Find us on social
media or email us at Facing Evil pot at tenderfoot
dot tv. For more podcasts from iHeartRadio or Tenderfoot TV,
visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen

(38:42):
to your favorite shows,
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