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A Louisiana millionaire has copped a plea deal in a bizarre kidnapping case involving his estranged wife and two men who died during the alleged abduction.
According to The Advocate, 53-year-old Lawrence Michael Handley has pleaded guilty to orchestrating the scheme in 2017, after he initiated divorce proceedings against his wife, Schanda Handley. Lawrence Michael Handley, who made his fortune in the technology and vitamins industries, was accused of hiring Sylvester Bracey and Arsenio Haynes to abduct and torture his wife in August of that year. The men, both 27, allegedly entered the Handley’s Lafayette home on the night of Aug. 6, and forced the woman into a van at gunpoint.
Investigators say the men handcuffed Schanda Hanley and placed a bag over her head and proceeded to torture her as the drove down Interstate 10. However, an off-duty sheriff’s deputy spotted the vehicle committing a traffic violation, and pursued the van until it got stuck in a swamp. At that point, the two alleged kidnappers exited the van and began fleeing on foot, eventually jumping into the Intracoastal Canal, where they both drowned.
Schanda Hanley was found alive in the abandoned vehicle.
The Advocate reports Lawrence Michael Handley pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree kidnapping and one count of attempted second-degree kidnapping. He now faces up to 35 years in prison. Handley originally tried to plead not guilty by reason of insanity but was deemed mentally competent enough to continue with the trial.
“We just feel it’s a fair result. It’s a fair resolution of the case. Mr. Hanley was able to accept responsibility,” his attorney, Kevin Stockstill, said. “Hopefully it gives the victims some closure and doesn’t put them through a trial, which would have been a pretty stressful event. Having them relive these events was not something we wanted to do.”
Lawrence Michael Handley’s sentencing date has not been announced.