Kidnapping of Schanda Handley, plotted by estranged husband Michael Handley, foiled by intestine intuition of off-duty sheriff’s deputy

Schanda Handley was at her house within the suburban neighborhood of Lafayette, Louisiana, along with her daughter, Isabella, when the doorbell rang round 2:30 p.m. on August 6, 2017.

Two males, posing as deliverymen, compelled themselves in with weapons. “They began to scream … to ‘get the F on the ground,’ and ‘do not transfer,'” Handley advised “48 Hours” contributor David Begnaud in her first tv interview.

The 2 males handcuffed Handley and threw her into the again of a van.

“I am hooded. They hooded me as quickly as I went into the van. It was a van that did not have the home windows within the again. And it was only a rubber mat with out seats again there, and — laid me on the ground,” she mentioned.

Handley mentioned one of many abductors was straddling her behind the car, forcing drugs into her mouth, and holding a gun to her head, whereas the opposite erratically drove them out of city. She recounted starting to lose consciousness, as she says the boys threatened to sexually assault after which kill her.

“And I began praying,” mentioned Handley.

Then she heard the sirens.

RESCUE OF A LIFETIME

Isabella Cumberland: I did not know what was happening with my mother. There was nobody actually telling me what was taking place.

KLFY REPORT: “Police say the girl was forcefully faraway from her house in Lafayette …”

Along with her childhood house now a criminal offense scene and her mom Schanda Handley simply kidnapped by armed intruders, Isabella Cumberland discovered herself confused amidst a crowd of investigators and forensic analysts.

Isabella Cumberland: They wished to go over the fingerprints on the doorways, upstairs, my telephone. And it simply kinda felt like I used to be one other piece of proof.  

Isabella, then simply 14 years outdated, was making an attempt to course of the sight of the violent kidnapping she had simply witnessed at her household’s house.

David Begnaud: As they’re driving away along with her, did you suppose that was the final time you’d ever see her?

Isabella Cumberland: I believed there was an opportunity.


Louisiana mother recounts the details of violent kidnapping

03:09

Lafayette investigators and Isabella had no concept that about an hour after the kidnapping, simply throughout the state close to Baton Rouge, Chad Martin, an Iberville Parish sheriff’s deputy, had pulled over a suspicious white van after a short pursuit. There have been two males inside.

They obtained caught within the mud. So, the boys jumped out and took off working. They jumped into the Intercoastal Waterway and disappeared.

And when Martin went to research that car, he found Schanda Handley, handcuffed and bare within the again.

Deputy Chad Martin:  She checked out me and I am going to always remember this, she mentioned, “Are you the actual police? Are you the one which’s gonna kill me?”

Schanda Handley: And he was like, “You are secure. You are secure.”

Simply minutes earlier than, Martin was speeding house for Sunday dinner in his squad automotive after clocking out, unaware of Schanda’s kidnapping almost 60 miles away.  His greatest fear at the moment? His spouse’s wrath.

David Begnaud: I heard you have been habitually late for dinners.

Deputy Chad Martin: I had a bent — to be late for all the things.

Now, he had unwittingly made the rescue of a lifetime.

Deputy Chad Martin
Iberville Parish Deputy Chad Martin approached the van and located Schanda bare and handcuffed within the again. “She checked out me and mentioned, ‘Are you the actual police? Or are you the one which’s gonna kill me?'” Martin advised “48 Hours.”

CBS Information


David Begnaud: What is going on by way of your head? I imply, you have been simply tryin’ to tug over a few guys who regarded a little bit suspicious.

Deputy Chad Martin: I am unable to actually inform you what was goin’ by way of my head. Virtually like I went into, like, robotic mode. … I used to be simply tryin’ to get this girl assist.

Schanda advised him a harrowing story: that the abductors had drugged her and threatened to rape her and kill her.

David Begnaud: If not for Chad Martin — 

Schanda Handley: Oh. I’d be useless. … I am unable to even think about, however I do know it wasn’t gonna be fast and swift. 

Martin relayed the information of Schanda’s rescue to dispatch, and it quickly reached Isabella.  

Isabella Cumberland: At any time when they advised me that she was secure … I felt this reduction.

Deputy Chad Martin: She had mentioned that — she believed that her husband is the one which had paid them to kill her.

Her estranged husband, Michael Handley. Schanda says that earlier than the troublesome months main as much as the kidnapping, Michael would have been the final individual she might’ve imagined would hurt her. That they had met in 2005 by way of buddies in Lafayette, at a time when each have been single dad and mom and rising from failed marriages.

Schanda Handley: He … was … actually catering and simply candy and compassionate.

One other factor that they had in widespread — each have been in restoration for habit.

Schanda Handley: At the moment, I had been sober for about … 18 years.

David Begnaud: Oh. Wow.

Schanda Handley: Michael was newly clear and sober. … He had a few 12 months.

Handley family
Isabella Cumberland, heart, with Schanda and Michael Handley.

Schanda Handley


The brand new couple hit it off, and a 12 months later they have been married in Hawaii. Isabella took an instantaneous liking to Michael.

Isabella Cumberland: He — effectively, was my dad from after I was 2 years outdated … And in order that’s how I noticed him, was actually as my dad.

In 2007, Michael and Schanda discovered success channeling their expertise in restoration into a brand new enterprise, partnering with a health care provider to begin a series of habit remedy facilities.

Schanda Handley: So, we wound up … opening at one level, I feel, there have been 14 facilities all through the south.      

Eight years later, they decided.

Schanda Handley: We bought the corporate.   

David Begnaud: How a lot did y’all make on the sale?

Schanda Handley: The 2 of them, Michael and his accomplice, we bought the corporate for $21.5 million.                            

David Begnaud: Wow. 

Schanda Handley: Yeah.

However their life as comfortable millionaires did not final lengthy say prosecutors Donald Knecht and Kenny Hebert.

Kenny Hebert: You recognize, cash and free time with somebody with … an addictive character is not an excellent mixture.

Schanda was seeing that firsthand with Michael in 2017, lower than two years after the sale of their firm, when she discovered a bottle of Adderall with Michael Handley’s title on it.

Schanda Handley: So, what we believed at our remedy heart was that use of one thing like that amphetamine might open the doorways to a world of bother. So, when I discovered the bottle, … it terrified me. … And I can bear in mind telling him, “This might result in demise. This might result in one thing devastating.”

And shortly issues obtained even worse when Schanda found that Michael was seeing one other girl.

Schanda Handley: He was having an affair. … And all I might suppose was, like, “I do not even know who this man is.”

Michael and Schanda Handley
Michael and Schanda Handley

Schanda Handley


Schanda issued an ultimatum: Michael had to enter remedy, however when he refused to get assist, she made a troublesome determination.

Schanda Handley: I alter the locks, and Michael was locked outta the home. And he began to lose his thoughts at that time … and so after a coupla weeks, he mentioned, “You are gonna remorse this.” After which that was, “I am telling you, it is gonna get dangerous.”

The Handleys’ life collectively was falling aside quick. Michael accused Schanda of assaulting him; she was charged, however later acquitted by a choose. All whereas Schanda was begging the authorities to see that she was the one in peril.

Schanda Handley: If Michael wasn’t apprehended, he was going to kill me.

LIVING IN FEAR

As Schanda Handley was recovering within the hospital, investigators have been studying the small print of her tumultuous previous with Michael Handley. They knew they needed to discover him and the abductors quick. They began scouring the canal – the final place her abductors had been seen.

Kenny Hebert: There was a fisherman … And … he reported these two people wading by him within the water … And certainly one of ’em pointed a gun at him and mentioned, “Be cool.”

However as the abductors had been swimming in the direction of freedom, the canal’s unforgiving present had different plans.

Kenny Hebert: They discovered them floating within the Intracoastal Canal, drowned.

David Begnaud: Lifeless?

Kenny Hebert: Lifeless.

They have been later recognized as Sylvester Bracey and Arsenio Haynes.

David Begnaud: What did you suppose once you discovered they have been useless?

Schanda Handley: I believed …  “I am not gonna have to fret about them hurting me,” as unhappy as that’s.

Whereas investigators suspected Michael Handley was chargeable for the kidnapping, proving it might need been troublesome with their predominant witnesses — the abductors — useless. However, Handley, it appeared, had made it sort of simple for them.

Kenny Hebert: Detectives have been working the VIN quantity on the white van … That VIN quantity leads them to an Enterprise dealership in Baton Rouge.  … They mentioned, “Effectively, a number of days in the past, a person named Lawrence Michael Handley got here in a rented the van.”

Kenny Hebert: After which a pair days earlier than that, he went to Barney’s Police Depot, which was a retailer … that carries particularly police-issue merchandise.

Michael Handley surveillance
Whereas investigating the case, authorities discovered proof that they are saying pointed to Handley because the mastermind behind the kidnapping. On this surveillance footage, Handley is seen buying handcuffs from a police provide retailer three days earlier than Schanda’s kidnapping.

fifteenth Judicial District Legal professional’s Workplace


Handley was seen on retailer surveillance cameras as he pulls up, and purchases handcuffs. Discovering proof allegedly connecting Handley to the kidnapping wasn’t troublesome however discovering him turned out to be the problem.

Schanda Handley: I am asking if Michael’s been apprehended. They usually mentioned, “No.” And so, they mentioned, “We have to, like, lay low for a short time.”

With a fortune at his fingertips, investigators feared he may very well be anyplace and a hazard to Schanda as soon as she was launched from the hospital. So, they got here up with a plan of motion.

Sid Hebert: We selected a secure home exterior of Lafayette

Sid Hebert, a former Louisiana sheriff, was a part of the safety element watching Schanda 24/7.

Sid Hebert: We had a Lafayette Sheriff’s deputy in a marked unit on premises. … No guests, no … package deal deliveries, nothing till additional discover.

Even in hiding, Schanda was feeling reduction that Michael was lastly being acknowledged as a menace after dwelling in fixed concern previous to the kidnapping.

Schanda Handley: The phobia that I used to be in for these three months… the kidnapping was nothing as compared … The kidnapping was a blessing.

David Begnaud: What?

Schanda Handley: The kidnapping is what allowed me to get to a spot the place folks have been keen to assist me.

David Begnaud: To start with, how many individuals believed Schanda?

Christine Mire: Not many.

However Schanda had discovered a fierce ally in Christine Mire, her divorce lawyer. Mire knew all too effectively what Schanda had skilled.

Christine Mire: Probably the most harmful case I’ve ever heard about, not to mention been part of.

David Begnaud: What made it so harmful?

Christine Mire: Michael Handley. … He was consistently stalking her, telling her that he knew the place she was, threatening her, threatening her daughter with hurt.

Schanda referred to as the police a number of instances, however felt she wasn’t taken severely. Mire helped Shanda safe a restraining order, however says Michael discovered inventive methods to make it successfully nugatory.

Christine Mire: He disguised his voice, he additionally used an app that picked up dummy numbers that he used to contact her. … So, there was no proof that it was him that was really violating the protecting order.

And he appeared to be monitoring Schanda’s each transfer.

Sid Hebert: He was in a position to spy on her by way of her personal laptop computer computer systems. … her alarm system. … he compromised all of that. … nothing was out of bounds.  

Michael’s conduct was rising more and more erratic. Despite the fact that he was the one to initially file for divorce within the spring of 2017, he quickly modified his thoughts and Schanda says now he was demanding they reconcile, or she’d pay a humiliating worth.

Schanda Handley: He says, “A few of our non-public movies are gonna exit to folks in the neighborhood.”

David Begnaud: Intimate movies?

Schanda Handley: Intimate movies. 

Schanda struggled over this however knew she could not take him again.

Schanda Handley: So, movies went out to tons of of individuals in the neighborhood. … My cousins, uncles … administration on the college, political buddies, neighbors. …  I sat and cried and was sick to my abdomen … I nearly did not rise up. 

Simply when Schanda thought she could not take any extra, on June 8, 2017 — nearly two months to the day earlier than the kidnapping — Michael Handley slipped into her home by way of the storage.

Schanda Handley: He was enraged. He reeked of alcohol. He was — he was livid … And he had me pinned up in opposition to the wall. And … I screamed, “Isabella.” Effectively, he put his hand over my mouth, and he pulled out a gun, a 9mm.

David Begnaud: A gun?

Schanda Handley: He pulls out a handgun. … And — and he mentioned, “In case you scream or anyone involves intrude, I’ll shoot you each. I’ll kill you each. Do you perceive me?”

Schanda says that after hours saying something she might consider to calm him down, she lastly satisfied Michael to depart.

Schanda Handley
” When Michael left that day after he had attacked me, I used to be 100% constructive he was going to kill me,” mentioned Schanda Handley.

CBS Information


Schanda Handley: As quickly as he walked out of that gate, I ran in the home, bolted the door … And I began screaming and crying.

Schanda Handley: When Michael left that day after he had attacked me, I used to be 100% constructive he was going to kill me.

Police have been referred to as as soon as once more, however they did not arrest Michael Handley.

David Begnaud: I can see in your eyes that you simply’re getting emotional.

Schanda Handley: Oh … I felt as if I used to be being advised … that I used to be mendacity and that I used to be making it up.

Christine Mire: That is why ladies do not report abuse. As a result of they concern they won’t be believed

David Begnaud: What number of instances had Schanda filed a report in opposition to Michael?

Kenny Hebert: I consider that the … precise stories filed have been a pair dozen, if no more. So far as what number of instances was there an arrest made, there wasn’t.

David Begnaud: Why?

Kenny Hebert: A lotta instances he was out of state. Generally the investigators felt like they did not have sufficient proof to truly go ahead and get a warrant for the arrest.

After the kidnapping, investigators have been assured that this time that they had greater than sufficient proof to make an arrest.  However might they discover him in time?

Kenny Hebert: So, someway, Michael is ready to observe Schanda all the way down to the place that she’s searching for refuge.

A DAMNING DISCOVERY

David Begnaud: Does Michael Handley know that the cops are onto him?

Kenny Hebert: Sure. … as a result of sooner or later he tried to … constitution a non-public airplane … And so, the pilot primarily mentioned, “I’m not going to be taking you anyplace—um, since you’re a wished man.”

The pilot reported it to police, however Michael was lengthy gone. And as he continued to evade authorities, Schanda obtained a textual content message from an odd quantity, claiming that Michael had additionally been kidnapped, saying partly “pay the ransom on your husband” and “pay us 500 massive or we’ll ship him house in items.” A day later, buddies acquired a surprising picture of Michael — he was nude, handcuffed, and seemingly injured.

David Begnaud: And he is obtained blood on him?

Kenny Hebert: Proper.

It appeared to be from Schanda’s kidnappers, however investigators knew that could not be true.

Kenny Hebert: We all know that, clearly, it wasn’t from them as a result of they’re useless at this level. So, Michael, is behind these messages.

On August 11, 2017, after a four-day manhunt, detectives lastly cornered the multimillionaire, as soon as accustomed to personal jets and five-star inns—he was in an off-ramp motel in Slidell, Louisiana.

Michael Handley arrest
After a four-day manhunt, detectives discovered and arrested an oddly smiling Michael Handley at a Tremendous 8 motel in Slidell, Louisiana.

fifteenth Judicial District Legal professional’s Workplace


As they took an oddly smiling Michael Handley into custody, investigators started sifting by way of the almost $10,000 in money, pizza containers, and illicit medication, discovering a “to-do” record. On it have been issues like “burner telephone, hair dye, money” — however its remaining job was much more ominous, says prosecutor, Kenny Hebert, since Schanda’s safehouse was simply 35 miles away.

Kenny Hebert: However on the underside of that record have been the phrases, “End the job.”

David Begnaud: And end the job would imply?

Kenny Hebert: In our opinion, he was gonna kill her.

With Michael Handley now in a jail, Schanda and her safety crew determined it was lastly secure to come back out of hiding.

Sid Hebert: It was time to go house. And that is what she mentioned, “I simply wanna go house … and rebuild my life.”

However along with his observe report of evading justice, Isabella was skeptical that the worst was behind them.

Isabella Cumberland: I bear in mind pondering that … it was nearly pointless that he was being arrested. … It felt like he had all the ability, and he was gonna hold the entire energy.

Michael Handley pleaded not responsible to a litany of expenses, together with conspiracy to commit second-degree homicide, and prosecutors set to work constructing their case in opposition to him. 

Kenny Hebert: Anytime you are on our facet of the desk, you begin pondering, “What is the protection gonna be?” We couldn’t work out what (laughs) his protection was gonna be.

Kevin Stockstill: There was no query that she was a sufferer of a kidnapping.

However, says Kevin Stockstill, the person who Michael Handley employed to defend him, the bodily proof would not show his consumer performed a component in any of it.

David Begnaud: Have been the van and handcuffs sufficient to convict him?

Kevin Stockstill: I do not suppose so.

That’s as a result of, Stockstill says, there may be an evidence for all the things. It began when Michael employed Sylvester Bracey — to not kidnap his spouse — however as an alternative, he claims, to maneuver some furnishings. That was the explanation Michael rented the van, he says, and made no effort to cover it.

Kevin Stockstill: Mr. Handley, you realize, goes into the Enterprise Hire-A-Automotive location along with his … bank card in a single hand and driver’s license within the different.

David Begnaud: So, you thought you might clarify to the jury, “Hey, pay attention. No person who’s really gonna commit this crime’s gonna go in with their license and ID and purchase it themselves.”

Kevin Stockstill: Right.

It was all harmless sufficient, Stockstill says, till the would-be “mover” went rogue. Stockstill theorizes Sylvester Bracey noticed Michael’s desperation to get his spouse again and determined to make use of it to his benefit. That is when he enlisted Arsenio Haynes to assist him kidnap Schanda and maintain her for ransom.

David Begnaud: So, you are pondering the abductors might have wished to extort Michael to get cash from him, so they’d have kidnapped his spouse.

Kevin Stockstill: Doubtlessly.

And naturally, he did purchase {the handcuffs}, however Stockstill says he solely used them to stage that faux kidnapping picture.

Kevin Stockstill:  So, as he is sure and gagged, he is sure with handcuffs.

It was simply the newest instance, in accordance with Stockstill, of photographs and movies that Michael had been sending to Schanda for months exhibiting him in emotional misery, and, in a single case, apparently overwhelmed up in a misguided try and attempt to win her again.

MICHAEL HANDLEY (crying in video): I really like you. I really like you.

Kevin Stockstill: As a result of Michael had … he had a proclivity to strive … and stage these items … to get, you realize, sympathy from Schanda.

However because the protection ready to argue that the abductors acted on their very own, Schanda Handley made a damning discovery whereas cleansing out a distant Mississippi property they owned.

Kenny Hebert: Schanda begins gettin’ a few of her private belongings. Effectively, one of many issues that they discovered was this digicam.

It was a sort of digicam referred to as Arlo and Michael Handley used it for safety.

David Begnaud: When Arlo detects sound and video, Arlo begins recording.

Schanda Handley: That is proper, that is proper.


Security camera records estranged husband: “Kill her … kill her.”

01:52

Effectively, it seems he accidently turned the digicam on himself.

David Begnaud: All put collectively, what did the digicam report?

Schanda Handley: I imply, tons of of hours, tons of of hours.

One of many first movies is from two months earlier than the kidnapping. Michael is by himself in a lodge room and is outwardly speaking to himself.

Kenny Hebert: You see him movin’ round. And sooner or later, he picks the digicam up and he places it in a bag. And also you hear him say the phrases, “I am gonna kill her. I am gonna kill her.”

MICHAEL HANDLEY (video): Kill her … kill her.

Prosecutors consider the “her” he supposed to kill was Schanda, and that Michael was much more specific simply days later in a dialog with a good friend in the lounge of the Mississippi home.

Kenny Hebert: They’re havin’ beers and so they’re discussing the problems that he is having with Schanda.

FRIEND (video): Y’all are each fairly cussed …

MICHAEL HANDLEY: Neither certainly one of us goes to give up to the opposite.

FRIEND: Proper. Yeah, she’s not going to and you are not going to.

The good friend later mentioned he did not recall listening to what Michael mentioned subsequent.

MICHAEL HANDLEY (video): And that is why she’ll die.

Schanda Handley: Michael says … “That is why she’s gonna need to die.” Simply so matter of reality.

Michael Handley and Sylvester Bracey
Michael Handley, proper, is caught on digicam with one of many kidnappers, Sylvester Bracey, prosecutors say, planning Schanda’s abduction.

fifteenth Judicial Court docket


In yet one more clip from simply two weeks earlier than the kidnapping… Michael Handley is caught with Sylvester Bracey at that property planning the way it was the right place, prosecutors say, to convey Schanda to torture her — and presumably worse.

Kenny Hebert: He particularly says, “It is nearly unimaginable for anybody to get in right here.” … to which Bracey responds, “And it will be unimaginable for her to get out.”

MICHAEL HANDLEY (video): Factor is, you possibly can’t break on this place. You possibly can’t break in right here …  

SYLVESTER BRACEY: And she will’t escape.

David Begnaud: I imply, did you suppose you had a rock-solid case earlier than that?

Kenny Hebert: Sure.

David Begnaud: However what’d you suppose after it.

Kenny Hebert: I believed, “I should have accomplished somethin’ proper on this planet.”

Then, in a transfer nobody noticed coming, Michael Handley agreed to inform his facet of issues.

QUESTIONS FOR MICHAEL HANDLEY

Whereas awaiting trial for the kidnapping of his estranged spouse, Schanda, Michael Handley was held within the Lafayette Parish Correctional Middle. However Schanda says although Michael was behind bars, he continued to harass her.

Schanda Handley: I’ve acquired quite a lot of mail, letters … whereas he is been incarcerated. … I obtained quite a few calls.

David Begnaud: Cannot they cease him from calling you?

Schanda Handley: I assume not.

Michael Handley
Schanda Handley mentioned Michael continued to harass her from behind bars.

fifteenth Judicial District Legal professional’s Workplace


On prime of that, Schanda lived in concern that Michael simply would possibly get out. That is as a result of, at one level, the protection argued that Michael was affected by psychological sickness and was not responsible by purpose of madness.

Kevin Stockstill: When Michael was — was sober … he was a implausible particular person, you realize … Very proficient — keen to assist folks. … when he was discovered on the lodge in Slidell, I imply, there have been medication there. You recognize. There isn’t any query that he was utilizing once more. … I do not know the extent of his accountability, however … I feel it is a mixture of — substance abuse and … some psychological sickness.

For prosecutor Kenny Hebert, nonetheless, it was a determined try and get Michael launched.

Kenny Hebert: They did it in order that they may get some psychological — professionals on the stand to say, “He must be out of jail, and he must go to those psychological well being amenities.” … Effectively, we’re talkin’ about psychological well being amenities that do not have almost the safety {that a} jail has.

Michael’s protection crew submitted psychological well being data exhibiting that he suffered from bipolar dysfunction difficult by drug habit, which they are saying rendered him legally insane through the time main as much as the kidnapping.  Two court-appointed docs agreed. However the choose dominated Michael was competent to face trial and should stay behind bars.

Kenny Hebert: As soon as they initially didn’t get him out … they withdrew that plea.

David Begnaud: And what did they alter it to?

Kenny Hebert: They simply modified it to common not responsible.

Whereas Michael Handley’s felony battle was heating up, in March of 2018, his divorce from Schanda turned finalized. Schanda was awarded the entire property. There was just one drawback.

Schanda Handley: There isn’t a cash. There isn’t any cash. You recognize, tens of millions of {dollars} vanished.

Christine Mire: Michael was a really eccentric individual. … he was obsessive about the collapse of the American greenback. A lot of their cash was in gold bars.

Kenny Hebert: Schanda mentioned she had seen gold earlier than and knew that there was gold someplace on that … property. … I consider folks really went out with metallic detectors to strive to determine if he stashed it someplace. … No gold was ever recovered … So, there’s all of this cash that is unaccounted for … However we all know it is gotta be on the market someplace.

On prime of being left with nothing, Schanda says she all of the sudden discovered herself chargeable for repaying her now ex-husband’s large money owed.

David Begnaud: How a lot of a gap did he depart you in?

Schanda Handley: $750,000. … I am unable to comprehend how I am now able the place I owe this type of cash.

Schanda felt prefer it was a slap within the face after enduring a lot. Nevertheless it wasn’t all for naught. Throughout the settlement negotiations Schanda’s divorce lawyer Christine Mire had subpoenaed Michael for a deposition. And surprisingly he agreed.

David Begnaud: I imply, that is wild.

Christine Mire: It’s.

Kenny Hebert: I can think about that somebody with the conceitedness that Michael Handley had, insisted that he was gonna testify and it was gonna be wonderful, ‘trigger he’s the neatest individual within the room. 

Schanda’s divorce lawyer and the prosecutors had agreed to cooperate with one another. And everybody was occupied with listening to what Michael Handley needed to say.

Kevin Stockstill: It was a threat.

David Begnaud: As a result of he would possibly go into that deposition and say stuff that actually jeopardizes his felony case. 

Kevin Stockstill: I’ve by no means been extra nervous in a deposition than that one.

Wearing a striped jail uniform, Michael answered questions for 10 hours over three days.

Kevin Stockstill: I used to be hanging on each query.

David Begnaud: I guess you have been.

Kevin Stockstill: Yeah.

MICHAEL HANDLEY: It was a chaotic and hectic time. I used to be dwelling out of inns. I might been transferring from lodge to lodge for a number of months.

Michael was requested about his relationship with Sylvester Bracey, and the explanation he rented that van.

MICHAEL HANDLEY: Sylvester Bracey, I had employed him to maneuver furnishings. … I rented the van to make a transfer, to maneuver the furnishings.

He caught along with his unique story.

Christine Mire: He mentioned that he had employed movers with the intention to transfer furnishings, and so they went rogue, as a result of they thought he had cash.

MICHAEL HANDLEY: I obtained a telephone name. … As quickly as I answered the telephone and I mentioned “Howdy,” they screamed — they screamed, “We have got your mom******* spouse.” And — I simply bear in mind ‘trigger it was like I obtained punched within the intestine … It was like a kind of moments once you go into — not actual.

Michael Handley
Michael Handley answered questions for 10 hours over three days.

fifteenth Judicial District Legal professional’s Workplace


However when pressed in regards to the particulars of how he first met Bracey, Michael claimed he could not bear in mind a lot in regards to the weeks main as much as the kidnapping.

MICHAEL HANDLEY: I do not recall.

MICHAEL HANDLEY: The explanation that I do not recall is as a result of I used to be excessive. I used to be dwelling like a rock star. I used to be on and off medicines throughout this time period … and I used to be beneath the affect of gear.

MICHAEL HANDLEY: Psychological sickness is hard, you realize.

However, he insisted, regardless of the gaps in reminiscence, there was one factor he knew for sure.

MICHAEL HANDLEY: I’d not kidnap my spouse.

Christine Mire: He would cry, and say that he cherished her a lot, that he was so sorry. It was that kind of manipulation.

MICHAEL HANDLEY: I’ve super remorse. 

Throughout the deposition, Mire pulled that Arlo digicam recording wherein prosecutors consider Bracey and Michael Handley have been caught speaking in regards to the plot to kidnap Schanda — the spouse Handley claimed he cherished a lot. 

Christine Mire: I queued up the place one of many kidnappers was telling Michael, “And, you realize, if she will get outta line, I will not hesitate to kill her.”

SYLVESTER BRACEY TO MICHAEL HANDLEY (digicam recording): I am going to kill that mom f*****.

Christine Mire: And I mentioned, “What sort of movers inform that to you?” And his concern was palpable, and he mentioned, “Oh, I do not know Christine, folks inform me all kinds of issues.”

Michael Handley withered beneath questioning, poking holes in his personal protection along with his personal phrases.

Kenny Hebert: The civil attorneys supplied us with these deposition transcripts shortly after receiving ’em.

And with the trial date quick approaching, Michael’s protection lawyer feared the worst.

Kevin Stockstill: We have been of the opinion that he ran a big threat of — of a conviction.

With the partitions closing in, and hours earlier than the trial was to begin, Michael Handley indicated he was open to a deal.

Kevin Stockstill: He would plead, you realize, second-degree kidnapping. The minimal sentence can be 15 years. The utmost sentence can be 35 years.

Prosecutors Donny Knecht and Kenny Hebert say there was so much to take into accounts.

Donny Knecht: The issue with a jury trial is you — you nearly by no means know.

Kenny Hebert: But additionally knew that there is Schanda Handley. … there’s Isabella. … You have obtained victims that need to relive that second in case you go to trial.

In the end, the choice to take the deal or go to trial was Schanda’s.

Schanda Handley: I used to be so scared that if we went to trial that it might work out superbly for him. … as a result of Michael at all times lands on his ft. … as soon as Michael’s out, I am not free.

SCHANDA’S DECISION

In July 2021, all Schanda Handley wished was for her ex-husband Michael Handley to remain behind bars. So, she agreed to simply accept his plea of responsible to second diploma kidnapping.

Schanda Handley: I did not wish to take any dangers … I’d quite the plea deal than to take the prospect and go to trial.

Lower than a 12 months later, on March 24, 2022, Schanda was within the courtroom to search out out what Michael’s sentence can be. Isabella was there, too, as was Michael.

David Begnaud: What was it like to come back face-to-face with him in court docket?

Isabella Cumberland: It was so surreal, you realize? … And I feel truthfully for each of us, it was this actually sturdy, highly effective emotion that we each felt, however mine was hatred.

Hoping to assist persuade the choose to provide Michael the utmost sentence, Isabella selected to provide a sufferer affect assertion.

David Begnaud: What did you say on the listening to?

Isabella Cumberland
Hoping to assist persuade the choose to provide Michael the utmost sentence, Isabella Cumberland selected to provide a sufferer affect assertion.

CBS Information


Isabella Cumberland: I actually sort of advised a narrative about … how troublesome it actually made my life, and the way troublesome it nonetheless makes my life. … as a result of I did not suppose he knew that it affected me in addition to it affected her. 

Schanda additionally had one thing she wished to say to Michael.

Schanda Handley: I advised him that he wrecked all the things, and that he destroyed all the things, … and the way might you … like, we had, like, a extremely — we had a great life. We … had a great household. And we … we adored one another. … He was the individual I most admired on this world till then.

David Begnaud: Do you suppose Michael understands his actions have had an impact on his former spouse and stepchild?

Kevin Stockstill: I feel that he does.

David Begnaud: You get the sense the man is sorry?

Kevin Stockstill: I feel so. … I feel he is able to regret.

But, when it was Michael’s flip to talk, as an alternative of a tearful apology, he gave yet one more new story. This time he admitted he did, actually, rent the 2 males to kidnap Schanda. However he claimed it was all faux, and staged in order that he might swoop in, save her, and be the hero.

Donny Knecht: What he actually wished to do was emerge because the white knight … who got here in and rescued her. … It was a manner for him to attempt to win her again, however he by no means actually supposed to harm her. … it was all a giant sport.

In the long run, the choose sided with the prosecution and gave Michael Handley the utmost penalty.

NEWS REPORT: A Lafayette man was sentenced in the present day within the 2017 kidnapping case of his estranged spouse. Lawrence Michael Handley acquired 35-years in jail for the crime.

Schanda Handley: Thirty-five years, minus 5 for time served … places him out when he is 79.

David Begnaud: Seventy-nine. … Are you OK with that?

Schanda Handley: I might quite he by no means get out.

David Begnaud: Are you continue to afraid, even with him behind bars?

Schanda Handley: Oh, yeah. 

That concern is one thing Isabella shares.

David Begnaud: Do you concern on your security from Michael Handley?

Isabella Cumberland: Yeah. I do. … Nothing might cease him.

Isabella Cumberland: I simply see him as a villain, not a great individual. And … I am not unhappy about it. In my thoughts, he is modified to a very completely different individual. So, it would not really feel like I’ve misplaced my dad. It looks like I’ve misplaced a stranger. 

Isabella and Schanda
“It is so highly effective to see how my mother dealt with this example,” mentioned Isabella Cumberland. “She’s superb, you realize. And she or he’s actually, actually sturdy.”                                           

CBS Information


The now 20-year-old school junior chooses to deal with the precious lesson that she discovered from her mom.

Isabella Cumberland: It is so highly effective to see how my mother dealt with this example, … She’s proven me how she will overcome one thing so horrible, and switch it into one thing nice, and develop into an excellent higher individual out of it.

Schanda has discovered renewed goal working with others like her. She bought property, took out a mortgage, and opened two sober dwelling houses devoted to serving to ladies get again on their ft.

Schanda Handley (exterior of sober dwelling house): It has been actually, actually rewarding. … And you realize, from my experiences that I’ve had — the challenges that I’ve had … I am … in a position to … present them firsthand that … We rise up, we hold goin’. We put one foot in entrance of the opposite and— we’ll persevere.

An vital a part of transferring ahead for Schanda has been recognizing those that stood by her. And whereas she did communicate on the telephone with Chad Martin, the officer who saved her, she by no means obtained the prospect to thank him in individual till now. “48 Hours” organized for them to satisfy.


Deputy who discovered abducted woman reunites with her years later

02:11

SCHANDA HANDLEY: It is so good to satisfy you.

DEPUTY CHAD MARTIN: It is good to see you once more. (They hug)

SCHANDA: Yeah, I am you to see if I can bear in mind. 

DEPUTY CHAD MARTIN: I bear in mind. … I am actually glad that — I used to be in the correct place on the proper time that will help you. Actually glad.

SCHANDA HANDLEY: Thanks. … I really feel like I owe you all the things. … I assume my biggest gratitude in you saving my life is that my daughter will get to have her mother and have a great life. … Thanks. Provide you with one other hug.

Handley is interesting, saying he was not correctly knowledgeable of his rights when he pleaded responsible. He’s additionally arguing his sentence of 35 12 months was too harsh.


Produced by Chris O’Connell, Betsy Shuller and Wealthy Fetzer. David Dow is the event producer. Marlon Disla, Michelle Harris and George Baluzy are the editors. Morgan Canty is the affiliate producer. Lourdes Aguiar is the senior broadcast producer. Nancy Kramer is the chief story editor. Judy Tygard is the chief producer

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