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Hope Rippey was one of the four perpetrators of the torture and murder of 12-year old Shanda Sharer on January 11, 1992, along with Melinda Loveless, Laurie Tackett, and Toni Lawrence. Rippey participated the third-most in the torture-murder, most notably holding Shanda down while Melinda and Laurie stabbed her after leaving the Witch's Castle and spraying her with Windex, as well as being the one to pour the gasoline used to set Shanda on fire.
Hope Anna Rippey was born in Madison, Indiana on June 9, 1976. Her father was an engineer at a power plant. Her parents divorced in February 1984, and she moved with her mother and siblings to Quincy, Michigan, for three years. She claimed that living with her family in Michigan was somewhat turbulent. Her parents resumed their relationship in Madison in 1987. She was reunited with friends Tackett and Toni Lawrence, whom she had known since childhood, although her parents saw Tackett as a bad influence. As with the other girls, Rippey began to self-harm at age 15.
Like the other four girls, Hope was sexually attracted to women, being bisexual. She and Toni had been close friends since childhood.
Prior to the events of January 11, Hope had not previously met Shanda and had only met Melinda once, and, along with Toni, was coerced into the plan by Laurie. Melinda explained that she disliked Shanda for "stealing" her girlfriend, Amanda Heavrin (who had become close with Shanda but they had not fully become romantically involved) as well as for being a "copycat", and she was planning to intimidate her and rough her up, pulling out a knife she was planning to use to scare her with. Laurie was the only other person who knew the full extent of the plan, and neither Hope or Toni genuinely believed that Melinda wanted to kill Shanda, nor realized how far they would go that night.
Upon their initial arrival at Shanda's home in Jeffersonville, Indiana (where the girl lived with her father) Melinda instructed Hope and Toni to inform Shanda that Amanda wanted to see her and was waiting for her at a place called the Witch's Castle, and they offered to take her there. Shanda initially declined, but told them to return around midnight when her father was asleep so she could sneak out.
The four girls returned at midnight. Hope returned to Shanda's front door - this time with Laurie - and this time Shanda agreed to go with them, joining them in the car.
Not long after they began driving, Melinda (who had been hiding in the backseat under a blanket) jumped out and grabbed Shanda, holding her knife to her throat and accusing her of stealing her girlfriend. Laurie continued to drive them to the Witch's Castle, telling an old legend to scare her further.
Upon arriving at the Witch's Castle, the four girls forced a sobbing Shanda out of the car and into the actual building, binding her hands and feet with rope and removing her jewelry and articles of her clothing, all while they kept threatening her and taunting her. Hope took away her Mickey Mouse watch and danced to the musical tune that it played.
After Laurie lit a t-shirt on fire and the girls were afraid that it would draw attention to them, so they shoved Shanda back into the car and drove to another location, a dark garbage dump off a logging road in a densely forested area not far from where Laurie lived. Melinda and Laurie forced Shanda out of the car and ordered her to strip off all her clothes, and they proceeded to take turns beating her with their fists. Hope, along with Toni, initially refused to participate, but Hope eventually joined in and held Shanda down while Melinda and Laurie took turns stabbing Shanda in the chest (Toni still refused to participate.) The three then strangled Shanda with a rope until she was unconscious and shoved her in the trunk and drove off.
At this point, all four girls believed Shanda to be dead. They drove to Laurie's house, which was nearby, to clean up. Shortly afterwards, they heard Shanda's muffled screams coming from the trunk of the car, to which Laurie went outside with a paring knife to stab her several more times until she was silent while Hope, Toni, and Melinda remained inside. After cleaning up again, Melinda and Laurie went "country cruising" in the nearby town of Canaan with Shanda still in the trunk, hoping that she would die slowly and painfully, while Hope and Toni stayed behind at Laurie's house. At this point, both girls believed that they had gone too far, but to Hope, at least, there was no turning back now.
Just before dawn, Melinda and Laurie returned. They revealed that Shanda was still alive, and sadistically talked about how they'd beaten her with a tire iron to the point where her skull had practically caved in. Hope then took a bottle of Windex cleaner, opened the trunk and sprayed a barely alive Shanda with it, tauntingly saying to her, "You're not so hot now, are you?"
After this, the girls drove to their final destination. They briefly stopped at a gas station and bought a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi, pouring the Pepsi out and filling it with gasoline. They they arrived at a field just off of Lemon Road. Hope, along with Laurie, wrapped up Shanda in a blanket and laid her in the field. Laurie then forced Hope to pour the gasoline on her, where they proceeded to burn her alive.
The next day, both Hope and Toni, hysterical and filled with guilt, went to the Jefferson County Sheriff's office with their parents. They both gave very rambling statements, identifying the victim as "Shanda",naming the two other girls involved as best as they could, and describing the main events of the previous night. the Sheriff's office contacted the Clark County sheriff and was able to match a badly burned body to a missing person report filed by Shanda's father that morning.
All four girls were charged as adults. To avoid the death penalty, the girls accepted plea bargains. Hope was sentenced to sixty years, with ten years suspended for mitigating circumstances, plus ten years of medium-supervision probation. On appeal, a judge reduced the sentence to thirty-five years.
On April 28, 2006, Hope was released from Indiana Women's Prison on parole after serving fourteen years of her original sentence. She remained on supervised parole for five years until April 2011.
In May 2011, Hope appeared on an episode of Dr. Phil that covered the Shanda Sharer case, alongside Shanda's mother, Jacqueline Vaught, and stepsister, Paije Dunham. During the show, she took full responsibility for what she did and broke down in tears and expressed deep remorse and extreme guilt for her role in the murder. She also went on to claim that she was coerced into participating because she was a "weak person" at the time, and also claimed that she truly didn't believe that Melinda wanted to kill Shanda. Both Jacqueline and Paije harshly denounced Hope, with Paije calling her a "monster" and saying that it was "sickening" that she was already out of prison. Jacqueline said she she would never be able to forgive Hope for her role in killing her daughter, but she expressed her opinion that Hope would be able to learn from her mistakes, and that she was confident that Hope would never do something like this again.
Hope still lives in the Indianapolis area and is now married to a woman named Alicia Tyree.