KEW GARDENS, NY (PIX11)—Barbara Sheehan has been acquitted on charges of murder in the second degree, but that does not necessarily mean she's able to go free. The jury of nine women and three men concluded that Sheehan acted in self defense when she shot and killed her ex-cop husband, Raymond. However, the jury also concluded that she was in criminal possession of the weapon she used in her husband's shooting death, a Glock 9-millimeter pistol. Sheehan could end up going to prison for at least two years on the criminal possession conviction.
Sheehan had claimed the shooting was self defense after the man who physically, mentally and emotionally abused her for at least seventeen years threatened to kill her in their Old Howard Beach home on the morning of February 18, 2008. After three and-a-half days of deliberation, the jury agreed with the self defense argument which Sheehan, 50, and her attorney Michael Dowd delivered over the course of the nearly four-week trial.
As she went past the bathroom, Barbara had testified, Raymond pointed a Glock 9mm pistol at her that had been on the vanity and which he'd always kept with him. He said he'd kill her, she had testified.
Fearing for her life, she had said, she shot him five times with the revolver. He was injured but not dead, and said again that he would kill her, according to Barbara Sheehan's testimony. She said that she was then able to reach his Glock, and she shot at him six more times, killing him. It was that second round of shooting for which Sheehan has been convicted of criminal possession of a weapon.
Their two children, Raymond Jr., 21, and Jennifer Joyce, 24, testified at trial in support of their mother. They described a double life of constant fear and threats in their home, that included not infrequent beatings of their mother. That was contrasted with a facade of family functionality forced by their father, the children testified. They said that he had threatened to punish them if they did not appear in public to be living a life without violence.
"It's nothing like it was in the past," Raymond Jr. told PIX11 News before the verdict came down, regarding the family's situation since the fatal shooting three years ago, adding that, whether or not his mother was found guilty, "This is better than it ever has been. We're getting through as a family."
And now that family goes forward with an acquittal for the grave act a wife took against her husband of nearly 25 years. The Sheehan Family has maintained all along that they are telling the truth, and have re-emphasized that message at every opportunity.
Prosecutor Debra Pomodore told the jury that the Sheehans were lying. The jury believed Barbara Sheehan and her family.
Under orders from her attorney, Barbara Sheehan and her children are not making any verbal statements pending a court appearance next Wednesday at which Sheehan may be placed in police custody. The judge in her case, Hon. Barry Kron, may also choose to allow the $1 million bail which Sheehan posted pending her trial to stand until she can appeal on the criminal possession of a weapon charge of which she was found guilty.
Sheehan did release a written statement exclusively to PIX11 News. "I am terribly relieved to have been found not guilty of murder," she wrote in the statement provided by her attorney's office. "I wish to thank my family, my wonderful children, Jennifer and Raymond, my attorneys, the jurors and everyone who has supported me and believed in me."
PIX11 REPORTER KIRSTIN COLE CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT