TACOMA, Wash. - A woman who was sued by the man who killed her husband is fighting for legislation to protect families from going through the same thing.
Larry Shandola was serving a 31-year sentence for shooting Robert Henry in the face in his Tacoma office when he served his widow with a lawsuit from his prison cell.
“It took me days to stop shaking,” said Paula Henry.
She had written a letter opposing Shandola's request to be transferred to a Canadian prison, so he could serve time close to family.
"I couldn't keep track of him if he was in Canada, so I didn't want him to go to Canada,” Henry said.
Shandola said she had made “highly offensive” statements about him in the letter she wrote.
"I know he will kill me," she had written in the letter. "He is a skilled sociopath."
Shandola's lawsuit alleged these statements went “beyond all bounds of decency” and were “utterly intolerable.”
"The guy's a convicted murderer! I don't know how you defame his character,” Henry said.
Henry and her lawyer want the state to keep criminals from filing frivolous lawsuits. They are working with lawmakers on possible legislation that would force criminals to prove their lawsuit’s validity. A judge would need to approve the lawsuit before it could be filed.
"We need to define the rights of prisoners,” said Henry. “We need to define the rights of victims. That’s important."
"I'm totally committed this does not happen to anybody," she said.
Henry will be in court Friday to try to get the lawsuit thrown out.
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