Killer sues victim’s wife from prison; she’ll try to change system

Paula Henry’s husband was fatally shot by a family friend in Tacoma in 1995, and now 18 years later her husband’s killer is suing her and others from prison.

Larry Shandola alleges that Henry violated his privacy rights and intentionally inflicted emotional distress, in part by telling the state Department of Corrections that he shouldn’t be allowed to serve his sentence in his birth country of Canada.

While fighting the lawsuit, Henry is also taking steps to prevent other victims’ families from having to deal with similar claims.

She and her lawyer, John Ladenburg Sr., are asking lawmakers to require convicts to get court permission before taking action against a victim or his or her family.

It’s too late in the state’s legislative session for the issue to be a measure of its own, but it could be added to another bill, Ladenburg said.

Tacoma Democrats Reps. David Sawyer and Steve Kirby have agreed to help with the effort, Ladenburg said.

Shandola was sentenced to 31 years in prison for shooting Robert Henry with a shotgun in the parking lot of the Tacoma business where Henry worked. Henry had previously sued Shandola for punching him in the face at a New Year’s Eve party.

It took years to get enough evidence to convict Shandola, who was found guilty in 2001.

Now Shandola is seeking $100,000 each from Paula Henry and other defendants, according to court records.

He had Henry served with the lawsuit at her home, which prompted her to move because she was terrified that he knew where she lived, Ladenburg said.

Some of Henry’s friends and a victim’s advocate are also named in the suit and have had to pay thousands to defend themselves, Ladenburg said.

A motion to dismiss the lawsuit will be heard Friday, he said. Henry is requesting $10,000 in statutory damages, according to court documents.