A Michigan man convicted of kidnaping a Val Verde real estate agent was sentenced Monday to 35 years in federal prison after his victim confronted him in court with an emotional speech she said is part of her healing.
In a trembling voice, Paula Harrington, 27, looked Timothy Daniel Shue, 38, in the eye and said the two-day ordeal has left scars that will last all her life. Harrington was kidnaped at gunpoint in June by Shue, who posed as a prospective home buyer, and then forced her to go with him to Arizona, where he sexually assaulted her.
"Eight or nine months after this occurred, the memories of this are still haunting me and scarring me, Tim," she said, as her family and therapist watched. "I just wanted you to hear it from me."
Shue, who appeared impassive throughout the hearing, could have received 30 years to life in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. He was convicted of one count each of kidnaping and using a firearm, with time added to his sentence because a sexual assault occurred during the kidnaping.
U.S. District Judge Edward Rafeedie rejected Harrington's plea for a life sentence, but also turned down a written request by Shue for a lesser sentence.
"The defendant simply has not expressed any remorse for his crime," Rafeedie said.
Shue is also facing the possibility of additional years in prison for several similar crimes allegedly committed during a two-month spree in other states, Rafeedie said. In addition, Shue may have to serve a 10-year prison sentence in Michigan for violating his parole there on an armed robbery conviction.
Given the likelihood that other trials may pile more sentences on him, Harrington said she is happy with the 35-year term in her case.
The abduction occurred June 29, 1994, when Shue phoned Harrington at her Century 21 office and asked her to show him some homes in the area, U.S. Atty. Debra W. Yang told jurors at Shue's trial last December. As they inspected one of the houses, he pointed a pistol at her, hogtied her and threatened to kill her if she didn't cooperate.
Shue forced Harrington to make cash withdrawls using her ATM card as they drove toward Arizona, telling her he wanted money for a final bit of fun before he died of a brain tumor, Yang said. After raping her, he left Harrington bound and gagged in a motel room in the small town of Gila Bend, Ariz.
Shue was arrested July 6 after allegedly displaying a gun to a topless dancer in Ogden, Utah. Authorities said he confessed to picking Harrington's name from a real estate ad because she looked like she made a lot of money.
During the trial, Deputy U.S. Public Defender Ellen Barry told jurors Harrington had willingly run off with Shue. But Shue presented no evidence or witnesses, and a jury convicted him after deliberating less than 15 minutes.
Barry could not be reached Monday for comment. Shue, in federal custody without bail, has 10 days to appeal the verdict and sentence.
Harrington quit her job as a real estate agent and enrolled at a community college following her return home, stating she could no longer handle the stress of showing homes to strangers. She said her long-anticipated speech to Shue was part of a lengthy healing process to deal with the problems that continue to surface in everyday life.
"I was at school and I got on an elevator that went up instead of down and it stopped at the maintenance floor, and this man got on the elevator with me," she said. "By the time we got to the bottom floor, I was having a nervous breakdown."
Harrington's husband, Chris, 28, described his life now as "paranoid."
"If I'm driving home and I pass a van with windows I can't see in, I can't help thinking, 'Is Paula in there?' " he said. "I always rush home, so if she is, I can turn around and get (the van) before it gets away. That's nuts."
But there are some signs that Harrington is recovering. She began selling real estate for another company in January, although she accepts customers only through referrals and insists that another agent be present when she shows homes.
"It's more important to me at this point to be safe than make money," she said.
In addition, Harrington has accomplished one of her biggest goals following the kidnaping: She is pregnant. She said the abduction made her determined to devote more time to family and less to her career, but she had to wait six months while tests determined if she had contracted AIDS from Shue.
Harrington's mother, Martha Frank, said she is encouraged by such signs and believes her daughter will eventually be able to put the worst of the trauma behind her.
"I told her once you got back alive, you'll heal," she said.