Barbara Sheehan Acquitted Of Murder; Guilty Of Weapons Charge

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…

  • pete

    If the judge is not corrupted and a decent guy, he will give her a suspended sentence. She really deserved that after being to Hell and back.

  • Dan Te

    For someone that never shot a gun before she sure knew how to use the 2 guns with precision. Why did she have to shoot him 11 times? To make sure he would not recover from his wounds? This sounds like a calculated murder to me. If she was abused why didn’t she leave him? Where are the scars? Why did she go on all those vacations with him? The pictures proofed they were having a great time. Strange how no one else knew about the abuse except her brainwashed children.

    • Tim

      Those dopey jurors should hang out with the OJ jurors!

  • Rupnarine

    Justice for who? It seems all you have to be is say you were abuse by a male and can have license to do anything. Why is it, female are the only victim in domestic abuse? A cop tried to save his girlfriend from being robbed, two shots were fired, one from the cop’s gun and one from the robber. one of the two shot hit the cop’s girlfriend and she died. they were soon to get married. The queens district attorneys office, and the justice system came up with a story that the cop was abusing his girlfriend, They had no evidence of injury, police or doctor report. yet they convicted a cop who put his life on the line everyday to protect us. A hero was sentence to life, and a criminal was set free with a hefty insurance policy to enjoy life because there is no justice. lets say we were abuse and go on a killing spree. There is no justice for cop in this city, especially if you are a minority cop.

  • Kuuipo1995

    I’m glad she was acquitted because she has endured nearly 20 years of abuse from a man who was a complete terrorist in their own home. Home should be a safe place to be and a place for comfort and peace and there was none in that home because of this sick man. Not only was Barbara abused, but their two grown children suffered just as badly; even though, he’d scare these kids with intimidation and fear. Barbara and her kids deserve alot better. She was in a situation where she was left without other options, but to do what she had to do in order to survive because this SOB always carried a firearm on him, even while he was at home. It was his way of showing his wife and kids who was “boss.” Sick coward deserved what he got and I wished that they’d stop referring to him as a “victim.” The real victim is Barbara

    • Dan Te

      No scars to proof her claim. Why didn’t she just leave him? So she can decide what justice he should serve? 11 shots? Don’t you think that is excessive? No one knew about this except her brainwashed kids?

  • Dan Te

    Why didn’t she separate from him all these years? She claimed he physically harmed her yet has no scars and willingly travelled on vacation with him. She was planning the next vacation prior to killing him. She lived on his income and pension. She never used a gun before yet she knew how to use the guns with accuracy. She brain washed the children.

    • Kuuipo1995

      Excuse me Dan, but it’s quite obvious that you’re insinuating that she asked for this and at the same time, belittling her. When you posess an aittude like this, it goes to reveal that most likely, you’re an abuser yourself. You really need to fully realize that people don’t simply make up stories about abuse and brainwash their children as you’re falsely accusing her of doing. Those kids lived through nearly 20 years of terror in that home and described the abuse of their mother and the very harsh treatment they received from their father. They witnessed all of this so don’t start with this nonsense of Barbara brainwashing them. Kids are not stupid and having to witness their own mother being both physically and metally abused is very traumatizing. Barbara and her grown children deserve to live life once again and have a right to.

  • tessie magillicuddy

    Great News for Barbara Sheehan, her children and all women who are at the hands of abusive husbands. Ray Sheehan and all the men like him are the devil incarnate –.

    • Kuuipo1995

      Tessie, I’m happy for her myself because nearly 20 years were taken away because of the constant terror she and her grown childen had lived in. This was a very unhealthy environment and yes, Ray Sheehan and other men like him are indeed, the devil incarnate.

  • Ahmed

    She should be stoned to death for committing such atrocity on her husband.

  • larry

    no one ever gets away with murder. the mental aspect of what was done drives a person to make mistakes that will eventually land them either in jail or cause them to become a murder victim themselves. poetic justice always prevails. mistakes are made by people not God. vengence is mine so said the lord.

  • Teege

    Dan, you actually post that you were a law enforcement officer for 28 years? Does everyone posting here know that this group has a higher incidence of domestic violence than the average Joe? It sounds like you didn’t learn much from those years on the force. And you may have “dealt” with more domestic violence cases but there is the key word. Dealing with it is different than gaining knowledge, doing research, and counseling victims. It doesn’t seem like you learned much. Maybe you were from the “shevasked forvit club”. I met a cop
    who subscribed to the “she asked for it club” while attending an education session with other police officers, educators, and volunteers. I thought he was
    kidding but it became quite clear that he would not support a domestic violence
    victim. When I inquired some officers said they tried to talk with him, others had
    no comment. About six months later there he was, on the front page of the local
    paper, arrested for beating his girlfriend so severely she was not expected to
    live. This happened in Hopewell Township, NJ in 200 or 2001. I’ve moved
    away, but know that they now have an excellent collaborative program today.
    Dan, you creep me out. You do not have a clue of what occurs from the victims’ perspective, nor do you seem to care. This is the first time I’ve posted on any topic and will definitely be my last with you. Your comments are so eeirly familiar that it brings back bad memories of those who I know who are arrogant, uniformed and enjoy using practice male privilege. Do you by any chance put your hand up to silence a woman when you want to speak? Don’t really want to know. So go ahead, have the last word.


  • Teege

    Not authorized? By who, her bully husband? And Dan, you were NOT there, so you know nothing about her immediate danger.

  • Do some reserch

    Enduring chronic abuse is a very complex situation. She will probably need a lot of therapy to have anything near a normal life. Its not like she won the lottery by getting acquitted for god’s sake. And how many times have you read that a woman gets a restraining order and it incites the guy further and the next thing you know she is killed along with whoever else is in the house. Walking away is not easy. Clearly she is someone who has psychological problems to stay with the guy but that made it all the more difficult to figure out how to leave him and survive. Not simple at all.

  • Peter

    If Plaxico Burress received 2 years in prison for accidentally shooting himself in the leg,justice demands the full sentence of 15 years for this killer.I hope the entire NYPD shows up on sentencing day.

    • mj

      I’M SURE THEY WILL .. THEY ARE LIKE ROACHES … IF YOU SEE ONE THERE ARE HUNDREDS MORE ON THIER WAY. btw he WASN’T a cop ANYMORWE he was retired, you’re acting like he was killed in the line of duty. he was killed being a bully

  • Kelly

    The nicest person has a limit, it comes a point in your life that you’ve taken just about as much as you could. Yes, if the word SNAPPED is in order, then so be it.

    • Dan Crocker

      Snapping should not be carte blanche permission to take a life. THAT is why we have COURTS.

      • mj

        exactly and the court has spoken … justice has been served, people tend to forget that an accquiat is justice too

  • Kelly

    This should set an example for ALL women, for many years women have accepted the abuse simply because they want to “hold on to him”, maintain their “marriage”, or to prevent from being “lonely”. WELL, I’D RATHER BE LONELY AND HAPPY, THEN TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP THAT REVOLVES AROUND USING ME AS A PUNCHING BAG OR SPITTING OUT VERBAL ABUSE. Women, especially at home Moms’ get it the worse. If they have an arrogant, self absorbed boy/man that’s supporting them they seem to have this mis-conception that they own you and can do what they choose. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. WHAT A MAN DOES FOR YOU, YOU CAN DO BETTER AND ACHIEVE MORE WITHOUT HIM HOLDING HIS BOOT DOWN ON YOUR NECK.

  • Dan Crocker

    So she was housebound then with no legs or brain to leave the situation she felt was dangerous or to report it to anyone. Hadn’t realized that…..

    Sooooo with all of that in mind, I guess emptying a pistol into him was the only logical thing she could do. Good work jury.

    • Kelly

      @ Dan, You sound just like an “abuser”. Oh, so she couldn’t leave ? Grow-up and remove your head from your maximus. This is a 50yr old woman with grown children. It was not a matter of being legless or not thinking. To sit back and endure abuse for many years is what the “average” woman will do. My husband is a high official, if I were to pickup the telephone just ONCE if he abused me, the poilce and ALL THE MEDIA would be at my home in a NY heart-beat. She protected him, she thought of the welfare of her children and possibly thought…”he won’t do this again..he apologized…he loves me..he loves the children…it’s all too REALITY.

      • Dan Crocker

        You are living in the dark ages. In THIS day and age, abuse like this isn’t condoned, not in my part of country anyway. Whether she snapped or not, she didn’t have the right to take a life as her life was NOT in immediate danger. He was shaving from what I read……..

        • Teege

          Please post your future replies in the idiot section. See below. Your ignorance on this topic is enlightening because it makes me realize that, although we have made progress in educating the public about domestic violence, we have. So , so far to go.

          • Dan Crocker

            I see you took your best ‘shot’ but it don’t wash. I walked the walk for twenty eight years as an LEO. I dealt with more domestic violence cases than you have brain cells.

            She had OTHER options to resolve the situation yet she took the easy way. Kudos to the defense attorney. He earned his paycheck.

            • jant1215

              You obviously had your head up your rear all those years.

        • Tessie Magillicuddy

          sounds like Dan is a wife beater

    • jant1215

      You are ignorant and have no clue what you are talking about. And anyone that knows nothing of abuse , should keep their worthless opinions to themselves.

    • Kuuipo1995

      Dan Crocker, you better remember that this woman was basically a hostage in her own home because of the consistent threats he has made to her. And those threats were very real because he meant every word and was watching her every move. He was even checking the receipts on what she’d bring home from the store and this is not normal behavior. He had her live in constant fear for 18 years. Remember, he was working in law enforcement and was using his expertise to intimidate and to make certain that she never became her own person. So stop acting like she was somehow responsible for her husband’s sick and depravced treatment of her.

  • The Facts

    Another travesty of justice by a dumb jury.

  • Kelly

    It’s good to see that she was not charged with the actual killing. Many years ago, for many years I was abused. Verbally he would tear me down, literally try to destroy me with his words. Once, he hit me with such force that it tore an artery in my face. If things were not going his way or if he was just “not feeling well”, he would berate me, curse me, called me derogatory names and just plain mean, nasty and ANGRY. He would do this outdoors, in the presence of my children and once he would have his drink, he’s was the nicest guy. I had had enough, enough of allowing my children to see this and give them the impression that it’s okay and it’s NOT. The actual marks will fade but the emotional and mental scars….THEY LAST FOREVER..YOU NEVER FORGET.

    • Dan Crocker

      So what did you do. Empty a pistol into him?

  • ConservativesRignorant

    Hey Scott you sound like a man whose abused a woman or two in your time. You’re so out of line. You also sound like a man whose had a run-in or two with the justice system. Killing is wrong, but a abusing a woman and children for decades is a death in itself. People snap when they’re pushed hard enough. Ever see the burning bed? Quit hitting and abusing women…PERIOD!!!

  • George

    We have to remember, we were not there in the house 24/7. Whether he was violent or not, we were not there. Whether she lied or not, we were not there. However, if all that is true, why the hell didn’t she run? Why not go to family members? I agree with val….hard to go into a police station and accuse one of their own. 99% of the times they will believe the cop. Look at how many cops have killed innocent civilians only to get away with it. Yet when a civilian kills a cop, he is 99.9% of the times found GUILTY. They do protect their own.

    • Claude

      Absolutely. Look at the Drew Peterson case and how the police failed to investigate the death of his previous wife, Kathleen Savio.

  • smell the coffee

    Finally glad to hear that women are getting away with mudering their abusive spouses – let that be a warning to all of you out there who think you have the right to do this to your wife!

    • Larry Schwarz

      Women are not punching bags and this should be a lesson to those who abuse their spouses.I believe she feared for her life and justice was served here.

  • Dan Te

    If she was abused then where are the physical scars?

    • Kelly

      Whether she has physical proof on her body or not, we all know that Dan Te was verbally, physically, sexually and educatedly (if that means anything to you) abused. Try an overdose or the GWB, that should do it.

    • Dan Crocker

      It’s probably the mental scars that are at issue here. Most physical abuse doesn’t leave permanent evidence unless it is seriously physical. Given all of that, she was not in IMMEDIATE DANGER and thus NOT AUTHORIZED to take a life. He was shaving for Christ sake……

      Don’t get me wrong here, I am not condoning his actions. I am just not real thrilled with her response to it.

  • jeffblocker

    Delighted to see she was acquitted. I’ve seen what abusive, destructive males can do to families and I’ve no doubt that every word she said was true, also backed up by her children. The jury made the right call.

    • Amused but not misled

      Problem is, there is no physical abuse recorded until it was invented at trial.

      Oh well she looks like one happy man in her pictures anyway.

    • Dan Crocker

      A better idea (rather than emptying a pistol into him) would have been to report the ongoing abuse or (if she had two legs and feet) walked out. I doubt that his being in the bathroom shaving qualifies as an immediate threat to her safety or that of another. But that’s just me….

    • Bill

      There’s no justification for murder. She should have left years ago, this is not a backwards foriegn country. No excuse. Murder is murder. She should go to jail, period.

  • Bigbrostyx Walls

    What a country?

  • Wake Up

    The New Trend! If you are a female, you are INNOCENT! Amanda Knox, Casey Anthony, Barbara Sheehan, and on and on and on. All this woman had to do was go the the local police station with her children and report everything that was going on. They have safe houses for people in this situation,.
    She acted as judge, jury, prosecutor and executioner. THIS IS LEGAL??? Give me a BREAK ! ! !

    • val

      Oh, sure, walk into a police station and accuse one of their own? Right, that would fly over well. Granted, she could have tried to leave but she was scared for her and her children’s lives. Abuse victims aren’t strong enough to walk out most of the time. She finally snapped. And this whole thing about his brother thinking she fabricated the whole thing is ludicrous. Her own son testified how he grew up seeing the father abuse the mother and left the house so he wouldn’t be part of that whole mess. I am happy she was found not guilty. This is NOT the same as Casey Anothony’s case. That was completely and utterly wrong! You cannot mix all these women into one category.

      • Claude

        I agree. Well said..

      • Scott

        You get a divorce, move out, get a restraining order, call for help, etc. You don’t wait for a guy to retire after so many years of alleged abuse and then KILL HIM. And many children stick by the mother out either loyalty or fear of abandonment. She killed the guy. There is no excuse for that. Do you think if we met in a bar and you had a bad day and took it out on me I should later kill you for that? I doubt you would. Yes, her abuse may have been longer and over a longer time but the principle is no different. The man is dead. That is wrong.

        • Claude

          On the surface, firing 11 times may not sound like self defense. But I’ve witnessed domestic violence firsthand, and I know that often a woman can’t leave because of fear or economic dependency. The man’s own children said he was wretched and they defended the mother. I think the jury did the right thing.

          • Scott

            I’ve witnessed it too and it’s not good, I am sure you will agree. Your argument makes sense, but you have to remember where she may have failed in the police station, she would have made up for it in family court, where women simply do no loose. So she had plenty of alternatives than to kill. Money would not have been an issue. Child support and everything else would have been more than enough for her to be fine. She had no right to take his life. No right.

        • Teege

          Where do want them to go? He could have threatened to kill her family, friends, kids, pets, Restraining order? Many women have been killed with restraining orders. It’s obvious that, although you are entitled to your opinion, you know very little about domestic violence. There are too many like you that are so uninformed about the research. Thanks to all of you who are informed.

          • Dan Crocker

            So emptying a pistol into your abuse is the answer then? Ok, just checking….

            • Teege

              I am not condoning murder but in some cases it is SELF DEFENSE. There are many women who have killed their abusive spouses in self defense and are in jail. Maybe if you heard some of their stories and could possibly put yourself in their place, there is doubt you would come up with a different outcome. Self defense is justifiable in some cases of domestic violence; it would not be necessary if our laws were more effective and the abuser was encarcerated first.

              • honest

                . Self defense is justifiable in some cases of domestic violence; it would not be necessary if our laws were more effective and the abuser was encarcerated first.- FIRST THE ABUSER SHOULD BE REPORTED! NOT KILLED AND THEN REPORTED!

    • Scott

      Yes it’s legal, as wrong as it is. Looks like the criminal courts are taking a page out of the book from the Family Court system and ignoring any fair and reasonable conclusions or arguments about wrong doing based simply on “favoritism” of women in general. women, Your comment is also outstanding and right on the money. This is a huge problem. Women are literally now, getting a way with murder.

    • Liberals Are Evil

      OJ was not female!

      • Scott

        Your right. However, his wife was naturally. The same wife who was courting a young man in her own home every chance she got both before and OJ and her separated. Why? Because she could get away with it. What OJ did was wrong. And that was an exception. But what she did was wrong as well. She was no angle by any means. I think we all know that. Bu the courts are in women’s favor is what I am getting at. And I hope you never have to learn that, personally speaking,

    • Johnny Handsome

      Until you are a woman being abused by your police officer husband, you have no idea what Mrs. Sheehan went through. Family court Scott? Get a restraining order? How many women have been gunned down in the street while they carried a restraining order in their pocketbooks? It simply doesn’t work if your spouse is a crazy deranged person in blue. She would’ve been reported missing had she done that. I’m sure a cop knows how to get rid of a body without leaving evidence. No. this was the only possible outcome if Mrs. Sheehan want to survive.

      • Teege

        Thank you. You are so right! Unfortunately, this is what happens many, many times. Also, most women know when it is or unsafe to leave. Most women in violent relationships are killed within a short period of time after they leave or attempt to leave.

      • Dan Crocker

        Kill or be killed is the best answer here then. Don’t use the system because it is worthless. Maybe he wasn’t holding a shaver after all when he took the eleven rounds.

  • LiberalsRDopes

    How much did that cost the taxpayer? And the most disturbing part of the story is this retired cop raking in over a 100,000 grand a year in pensions….Pretty much sums up all that’s wrong with NY

    • Scott

      Could not agree more with your perfect statement. Except to say, “disgusting”.

    • Peter

      whats funny is she will probably get her husbands pension !!!! LOL

      • Scott

        You can count on it. Look at her smug picture. Never lost a moment of sleep or an ounce of weight (to her discredit) through an entire trial ordeal. Never mind the person she is going to be collecting from is dead. This women really has brass ones.

        • stephen

          this was murder and it makes me sick to think she got away with it . she did not have pick up the other gun after she already shot him. Another fine job done by a jury i just hope the judge gives her the max. she could have left ever hear of divorce?

    • Johnny Handsome


      • Teege

        Yeah!,,,reminds me of what my father used to say: “for some, no explanation is necessary, for others none is possible”.

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