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He Hired 2 Men to Kidnap His Wife. They Ended Up Drowning.

  • July 30, 2021

The kidnappers had been hired by Ms. Handley’s estranged husband, Lawrence Michael Handley, who was planning to have Ms. Handley driven to his camp near Woodville, Miss., from her home in Lafayette, La., prosecutors said. What he planned to do after that was not clear, the authorities said.

But as the men drove east on Interstate 10 on Aug. 6, 2017, with Ms. Handley handcuffed in the back, sheriff’s deputies noticed the van was swerving and tried to stop it, prosecutors said.

The men, Sylvester Bracey and Arsenio Haynes, drove off the interstate, turned down a dead-end gravel road, and were penned in by the police, prosecutors said. Both men tried to escape by swimming through a canal, prosecutors said. They drowned.

On Monday, nearly four years later, Mr. Handley, 53, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree kidnapping and one count of attempted second-degree kidnapping, prosecutors said. He faces 15 to 35 years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.

Under a plea deal, Mr. Handley avoided a charge of aggravated kidnapping, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison, prosecutors said.

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