News

Barbara Sheehan Acquitted Of Murder; Guilty Of Weapons Charge

View Comments
Barbara Sheehan leaving court after day one of deliberations in her murder trial. (file/credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Barbara Sheehan leaving court after day one of deliberations in her murder trial. (file/credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – In the third day of deliberations, a jury acquitted Barbara Sheehan of murder in the shooting death of her husband in their Howard Beach home in February 2008.

Sheehan, 50, was found guilty on one charge of criminal possession of a weapon. According to the Queens District Attorney’s office, the weapons charge is in the 2nd degree, a class C felony, which is punishable by a minimum of 3 and a half years and a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Sentencing is set for November.

“There’s no joy today,” attorney Michael Dowd said. “The only thing that can bring joy to this family would be to bring them back 17 years before the first blow was struck.”

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports Sheehan left court smiling

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported when the verdict was announced Thursday, her supporters erupted in cheers while Sheehan put her head down and was hugged by her attorney.

“We’re extremely ecstatic,” her father, Michael Henry, said.

WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell Reports

The jury of nine women and three men accepted Sheehan’s defense that she feared for her life and acted in self-defense when she shot her husband 11 times with his two guns — a revolver and a Glock — while he shaved in the bathroom.

CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman reports the Queens DA created an elaborate animation that recreated the sequence of the shooting. The jury convicted Sheehan only of picking up and using the Glock; apparently agreeing with Sheehan’s claim she fired the first gun in self-defense.

AUDIO EXTRA: 911 Call In Sheehan Case

“She was never able to successfully defend herself against him,” Dowd had said during the trial’s closing arguments. “The only way she was going to survive, was to act, or she’d be dead.”

The victim in this case, retired New York Police Department Sgt. Raymond Sheehan, was portrayed by the defense as a gun-toting bully who abused his wife and terrorized his kids before he was shot to death.

Earlier in the trial, Sheehan testified that her husband would call her “stupid, fat and a terrible mother” and would choke her, knock her down, step on her and spit in her face. Sheehan nearly collapsed on the stand after the prosecutor confronted her with one of the guns used in the murder and asked her to demonstrate how she shot her husband.

Sheehan’s grown children gave a grim picture of what life was like at their home.

Jennifer Joyce, 25, testified that incidents of violence happened every day at their house. Raymond Sheehan, 21, testified he’d considered suicide while living at home and decided to go to school in Connecticut because he needed to leave the tense environment.

Vincent Sheehan, the victim’s twin brother, spoke with CBS 2 and 1010 WINS before the verdict was announced.

“This has been the most difficult month of my life,” he said.

Vincent believes Sheehan fabricated the stories of abuse, saying his brother never fired a gun in the line of duty, wore two guns in the house or take a gun into the bathroom.

In regards to his sister-in-law’s guilt he said, “It’s not a win for anybody, however, when a murder occurs and a life is taken, there’s got to be some accountability for it.”

Prosecutors said Sheehan was not a battered wife and had shot her husband because she was angry over his infidelities and bizarre sexual preferences and that she stood to benefit from his two life insurance policies. The prosecution described the killing as an execution.

What do you think of the verdict? Let us know below…

View Comments