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Queens Chronicle

Judge in Sheehan case vows to be open minded

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Posted: Thursday, January 7, 2010 12:00 am

A new judge in the case of Barbara Sheehan, the Howard Beach woman who stands trial for killing her former police officer husband, told her attorney Tuesday he would keep an open mind in regard to letting her use psychiatric testimony, which is necessary in proving she suffered from the emotional stress associated with enduring decades of domestic abuse.

Sheehan’s attorney, Michael Dowd, said he feels his client will get a fair trial under Judge Richard Buchter, who presided over the Nicholas “Fat Nick” Minucci trial four years ago and took over for Justice Arthur Cooperman, but isn’t certain the previous judge’s decision to preclude psychiatric testimony would be overturned.

On Nov. 10, Cooperman issued a ruling that Sheehan could not use expert testimony. In December, he again denied Dowd and Sheehan’s motion, reiterating the prosecution’s belief that Dowd did not follow court procedure.

Sheehan, 48, is charged with second-degree murder and two counts of weapon possession. She was arrested in February 2008 at her home after firing 11 bullets at her husband, Raymond Sheehan.

On Tuesday, the prosecutor pushed to set a trial date for Feb. 24, but Buchter said more motions would likely be presented at that time. Sheehan’s next court date is Feb. 24, and it is believed a trial date could be scheduled at that time.

— Lisa Fogarty

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