Murder victim's mother angered over release

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Indianapolis, April 28, 2006 - One of four teenagers convicted in the 1992 murder of a 12-year-old girl is now a free woman.

Hope Rippey was released from Indiana state women's prison early Friday morning. A judge sentenced Rippey to 40 years after the beating, strangling and burning of Shanda Sharer.

The state reduced Rippey's prison time based on good behavior, and the fact that she got her GED and bachelor's degree while in prison.

Shanda Sharer's mother has been fighting an early release for her daughter's killer for years. She knew this day would come, and she is angry with the system.

"I'm very angry. It should never have happened. The thing with Hope Rippey is that since the day she was sentenced, she's tried to get out. There have been three modification sentences for Hope. This was the third one and she should have never prevailed with this," said Jacque Vaught.

Vaught says she's been keeping a lot of her emotions to herself, but that Rippey's release greatly angered her.

In an interview with Eyewitness News' Anne Ryder, Vaught said, "Here's where I'm at on forgiveness. It's just not up to me to forgive those girls. It's up to God to forgive them."

One of the other women serving time for her role in the murder of Shanda Sharer is Laurie Tackett. She is participating in an inmate-reform program featured in an Eyewitness News special report, Hope to Tell.