Louisiana millionaire pleaded guilty to orchestrating a kidnapping plot against his ex-wife which collapsed when the men he hired to take her drowned while trying to escape the police with she strapped to the back of their van.
Lawrence Michael Handley, 53, a recovering alcoholic, sold his healthcare business for $ 21 million in 2015, two years before filing for divorce from his wife, Schanda. The couple both claimed that the other tried to have them killed.
In August 2017, two men – Sylvester Bracey and Arsenio Haynes – went to Schanda’s home to kidnap her. They put a bag over her head, tied her up, and threw her in the back of a van before setting off.
Handley hired them while he was high on methamphetamine and cocaine, according to his lawyer. It is not known why Handley wanted to kidnap his ex or if he intended to kill her.
After placing Schanda in the back of their van at gunpoint, the two kidnappers moved away but encountered traffic.
Rather than wait, they drove onto the shoulder of the road and caught the attention of a member of Parliament who began to chase them.
During the chase, they left the road and crashed into a swampy area. They then abandoned the van on foot, leaving Schanda strapped in the back, and as they ran, decided to jump into a canal where they later drowned.
Lawrence Michael Handley, 53, plotted to have his ex-wife Schanda kidnapped in August 2017. Two men he hired went to her house, put a bag over her head and threw her in. back of a pickup truck.
Sylvester Bracey and Arsenio Haynes both drowned while trying to run away from the police after crashing the van and then deciding to flee on foot. They jumped into a canal and their bodies were found a few days later
Their bodies were found two days later. Schanda was rescued by the deputies in the back of the van.
Handley’s lawyer said he was addicted to methamphetamine and cocaine when he hatched the kidnapping plot
Handley was arrested four days later after police found him in a hotel. He had chartered a plane and intended to leave the country. He has been in prison ever since.
He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to several counts, alleging insanity, but in 2018 a judge ruled he was mentally fit to stand trial.
On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree kidnapping and one count of attempted second-degree kidnapping under a plea deal.
He now risks between 15 and 35 years behind bars.
Before entering into a plea deal, he faced life imprisonment for aggravated kidnapping.
Handley made his fortune with companies that sold vitamins, among other things.
In 2015, he sold his group of drug addiction rehabilitation centers that operated across the South for $ 21 million.
He is a recovering alcoholic himself, according to The Clarion Ledger, and as his marriage deteriorated he began to use drugs.
Handley and Schanda married in 2006. It’s unclear why their marriage fell apart, but in 2017, several restraining orders were filed involving the two of them. He alleged that she was trying to get him killed.
His lawyer said The New York Times that he wasn’t clearly thinking when he plotted to have her kidnapped because he was addicted to methamphetamine and cocaine.
“It certainly wasn’t a logical thought, but when you take a lot of methamphetamine and cocaine, I guess it made sense to him.
“It turned out to be a terrible decision,” Kevin Stockstill told The Times. She said he had “lost his mind” to drugs. Handley has yet to be convicted.
Schanda said her husband “lost his mind” to drugs and plotted against her in “drug-induced psychosis”