Charlie’s Project 2 Heal donates puppies to the Indiana Canine Assistant Network (ICAN), where the puppies are sent into the prisons, trained by the inmates, and then the skilled service dogs are placed with those suffering from physical or developmental disabilities. It is within the walls of the Indiana State Women’s Prison where the story takes an unexpected turn.
Charlie is made aware that one of the inmates training his pups is the same Melinda Loveless who was involved in, not only Indiana’s most heinous crimes-the murder of 12 year old Shanda Sharer. Melinda Loveless’ childhood in no way resembled a normal upbringing. Born in New Albany, Indiana on October 28, 1975, the youngest of three daughters, to Marjorie and Larry Loveless, Melinda was the target of sexual, emotional, and mental abuse.
The extent of Larry's abuse to his daughters and other children is unclear. Numerous court testimonies claimed he fondled of his daughters as an infant, molested Marjorie's 13-year-old sister early in the marriage, and molested another family member between the ages of 10-14. Melinda’s older sisters stated that he also molested them and raped them in secession. Larry was also verbally abusive to his daughters and actually fired a handgun in the direction of Melinda’s older sister, when she was seven, intentionally missing her. He would also embarrass his children by finding their underwear and smelling it in front of other family members.
In November 1990, Larry was caught spying on Melinda and one of her friends. Marjorie attacked him with a knife, which resulted in visit to the hospital after he attempted to take the knife from her. Marjorie made another suicide attempt but was interrupted after their daughters called authorities. Shortly after this incident Larry filed for divorce and moved to Avon Park, Florida.
During the entire ordeal, Melinda slept with Larry in the same bed until he abandoned his family when she only was 14. His abandonment of the family had a devastating effect on young Melinda. The years of abuse were now compounded by his rejection. Melinda was emotionally crushed, especially as Larry remarried. Her feelings of rejection were now fueled with resentment. She continued to maintain a relationship with her father for some time. Larry wrote to Melinda for an uncertain amount of time, continuing abuse by playing on her emotions, but eventually severed all contact with her.
Melinda’s emotional state continued to deteriorate. Her feelings of rejection and abandonment were repressed when she meets another young girl from school-Amanda. Melinda again felt somewhat wanted, and quickly developed a relationship with her. As the relationship continued, Melinda saw much of her father’s mannerisms in Amanda and became overly jealous if anyone else expressed interest.
Shortly after the relationship began with Melinda, Amanda turned her attention to Shanda Sharer, a 12 year old, who was also a student in the school. This enraged Melinda and she sought to beat up Shanda to keep her away from Amanda.
Melinda, along with three other teenage girls, decide to lure Shanda out of her home to confront her and beat her, so that she would be too fearful to continue any further contact with Amanda, thereby preserving the relationship between Melinda and Amanda. The situation quickly turned violent and some 10 hours later, Shanda Sharer had been murdered.
The case, which made worldwide news headlines in 1992, has been a hot topic for the last 20 years and continues to fuel blog post and websites today. The case spawned a New York best seller, a made for TV movie, and most recently, an episode of Dr. Phil; but Loveless denied the show’s staff, interview access.
Although the film crosses paths with Melinda, the scenes in the movie are acceptable for anyone over 12 years old to see. There are no graphic dialogue or scenes that would prevent most viewers. The film now includes three on-camera interviews of Melinda Loveless, which we shot during our visit to the prison. Her interview statements prove to be more insightful than originally thought and is a major part of the Charlie’s Scars story. Charlie discovers that the incarcerated adults training the dogs are carefully screened, but still feels the need to investigate further. Charlie must also address his own internal demons as he questions his own belief system.
Charlie’s Project 2 Heal is an organization that donates Labrador Retrievers, trained as skilled companion dogs, to families with special-needs children: including burn victims, those with Downs Syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and many others. The mission of Project 2 Heal is to help children overcome pain through the unconditional love of a dog.
Charlie’s incredible story begins when he was just five years old. After two life-threatening injuries, a high-level position at a national bank, and the passing of his mother, Charlie realizes his purpose in life is to help facilitate the physical, mental, and emotional healing processes of others.
The next public showing takes place during the Charlotte Film Festival, on March 13th, 2012. Major media coverage is expected, due to Melinda’s interview. Loveless has also denied interview access to Maury Povich, and Oprah.
Episode XI Studios, LLC is located in Charlotte, NC, and believes in going well beyond a camera and a tripod, by using a cinema approach to video production by using camera cranes and dollies-the gear Hollywood uses. The end result isn’t a video production, but a Hollywood-style production…and all for the small to mid-sized company.
If you would like more information, please contact Beth Sowell at 704.998.3711, or visit the website at http://www.episodexistudios.com, or view the trailer at http://www.charliesscars.com
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