Barbara Sheehan, the Howard Beach woman who said she shot her
husband 11 times in self defense after he threatened to kill her
and following nearly two decades of physical and emotional abuse,
was found not guilty of murder Thursday afternoon.
The jury, made up of nine women and three men, acquitted
Sheehan, 50, of second-degree murder but found her guilty of one
count of weapons possession, which her attorney, Michael Dowd, said
he planned to appeal.
“The only thing that can bring joy to this family would be to
bring them back 17 years before the first blow was struck,” Dowd
said on Thursday.
Sheehan will have to return to Queens Supreme courthouse in
Kew Gardens on Wednesday for sentencing by Judge Barry Kron, who
has presided over the case.
The verdict comes after an emotional trial over the past
month, which included testimony from Sheehan and her two children,
Jennifer Joyce, 25, and Raymond Sheehan, 21.
Throughout the past four weeks, Sheehan, her children and her
attorney maintained she shot her husband, Raymond Sheehan, a former
NYPD sergeant, on Feb. 18, 2008 after he allegedly pointed a gun at
her and told her he was going to kill her. They also said the death
came after he had allegedly abused for the last 18 years of their
24-year marriage and had punched her in the face, smashed her head
into cinder blocks while on vacation in Jamaica, threw boiling
marinara sauce on her and threatened to kill her and her children
if they ever told anyone what was going on.
The prosecution, led by Assistant District Attorney Debra
Pomodore, however has argued that Sheehan “executed” her husband
while he was unarmed and shaving in the bathroom.
During summations on Monday, Dowd described what he said had
been a life of misery for Barbara Sheehan and her two
“You heard from the two children about what it was like to
live there,” Dowd said to the jurors. “It was literally a fog of
fear about what Raymond Sheehan would do at any given moment. One
of the hardest things for human beings to live with, and the
children expressed this, is to go minute by minute, day by day,
month by month, year by year knowing that you’ll get hit and hurt,
but not knowing when it will happen.”
Dowd, wearing a purple shirt and tie, recounted testimony from
Barbara Sheehan and her two children, telling jurors that his
client’s husband “wanted to appear the perfect family man outside
the house, but he terrorized his wife and children."