LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – A Lafayette man was sentenced today in the 2017 kidnapping case of his estranged wife.
Lawrence Michael Handley received 35 years for the crime. Those 35 years of hard labor is without the possibility of parole. The judge recognized the time Handley has spent in the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center as time served towards his sentence.
“The evidence was overwhelming. The judge recognized that this is a dangerous man who had it out for his ex-wife. The judge made sure he is not getting out anytime soon,” a member of the prosecution team tells News Ten.
Handley was originally indicted on counts:
- conspiracy to commit second-degree murder
- conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping
- aggravated kidnapping
- attempted second-degree kidnapping
- second-degree kidnapping
- violation of a protective order
The 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office agreed to waive both conspiracy charges and the protective order charge and reduce the aggravated kidnapping charge to second-degree kidnapping in exchange for a guilty plea. “We didn’t have to put them through a jury trial. That was important for us.”
Handley was arrested in 2017 after masterminding a plot to kidnap Schanda Handley. In court documents, authorities allege that from the couple’s rural Mississippi camp, Handley orchestrated an August 6th kidnapping of his now ex-wife from their Lafayette home. While she visited with her then 14-year-old daughter and a friend, two hired kidnappers forced their way into the home with semi-automatic handguns, according to court documents.
Before the courtroom, Schanda Handley talked about the impact the kidnapping has on her life and her family’s life. “To have the strength to come here today, in front of the world, and be cross examined to say this what happen and this is what I went through.”
Her daughter, who witnessed the kidnapping take place, also took the stand. She says Michael Handley made her life “unlivable”. “For her daughter to do the same. I was proud.”