NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Barbara Sheehan was sentenced Thursday in Queens state Supreme Court on a weapon charge. She got five years in prison.
WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell On The Case
In a brief statement, Sheehan told the court, “I’ve said numerous times that I was sorry and I am.”
The Howard Beach woman was acquitted of murder after she shot her husband, retired police sergeant Raymond Sheehan, 11 times with his two guns, a revolver and a Glock, in February 2008.
Sheehan, 50, testified she feared for her life and shot her husband in self-defense after he threatened to kill her if she didn’t go with him on a Florida vacation.
She spent 12 days on Riker’s Island last month after she was found guilty on one charge of criminal possession of a weapon.
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.
At Thursday’s sentencing, the two sides battled again over whether Sheehan had been a battered wife or not.
Assistant District Attorney Debra Pomodore said Sheehan’s husband was the true victim in the case saying he was a “man in the prime of his life” who was gunned down and “left to die on the bathroom floor.”
Defense Attorney Michael Dowd said Sheehan “chose to live” and that every time her husband “took his fist…and hit his wife in the face, that was a crime.”
In a victim impact statement, the retired officer’s sister-in-law, Linda Sheehan, said, “We are heartbroken that the jury has lost sight of the real victim.”
“The story of the life that Barbara told on the witness stand was not the life that we shared with her and Raymond,” she said.
During 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.
Prosecutors had said Sheehan was a liar upset that her marriage was crumbling and that her children had fabricated their testimony to protect their mother.
On Thursday, Sheehan appeared stunned by the sentence and left the courtroom without speaking to reporters.
Dowd said he finds the sentence unreasonably harsh.
“It just sends a terrible message to the victims of domestic violence and battered women across the city and the state and the country,” Dowd told 1010 WINS. “I think this is a devastating communication to the victims of domestic violence. It says to battered women that they can’t trust the system in Queens County.”
Jurors found Sheehan guilty of gun possession because she had used the Glock after her husband no longer posed a danger — since he had already been shot several times with the revolver.
Dowd said they are planning to appeal.
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