NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Is a woman who kills an abusive boyfriend a murderer, or justified in pulling the trigger?

A Staten Island woman is hoping a judge gives her a break.

As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported, 38-year-old Lisa McQuade shielded her face as she returned to jail on Wednesday. She is accused of killing the boyfriend she claims was an abuser.

“She’s absolutely a victim. She’s a victim in every sense of the word,” defense attorney Mark Fonte told Aiello.

Fonte said the abuse went on for months.

Photos show McQuade with a bruised face and a swollen eye she claims she suffered at the hands of 39-year-old Christopher Bonafede.

McQuade grabbed one of Bonafede’s guns at the home the shared on March 3 and fired repeatedly, leaving him dead.

The lawyer describes 471 Ridgewood Ave., in St. George as a house of horrors for McQuade. He said she’s doing better behind bars then she ever did living here.

Neighbors said they often heard yelling and screaming coming from inside.

“She was drugged, she was tied down to the bed so that she couldn’t leave. It wasn’t only physical torture, but it was psychological abuse,” defense attorney Mark Santos told Aiello.

McQuade’s lawyer compares this case to that of Barbara Sheehan, the Queens woman who shot her husband 11 times but was found not guilty of killing him because of abuse she suffered.

When McQuade was arrested, she was charged with murder, but the grand jury indicted her on a lesser charge, manslaughter under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance, Aiello reported.

“I believe a jury will eventually agree with me that her actions were justified,” Fonte said.

McQuade has asked a judge to lower her bail and let her out of jail.

McQuade is the mother of three children, who live with family members in New Jersey.

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