The trial for Barbara Sheehan’s life started long before September 9.
According to the 50-year-old mother of two, her life was on the line each day of the final 18 years of her marriage.
The Howard Beach resident is being tried on charges of second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon for the shooting death of her husband, retired NYPD sergeant Raymond Sheehan, on the morning of February 18, 2008.
What followed was the firing of 11 shots by Barbara – the first five from the revolver she held and the subsequent six from the .9-mm Glock she says her husband reached for as he screamed that he was going to kill her.
The jury is currently in deliberation, and Barbara admits that being on trial has felt like being stuck in “quick sand.” If found guilty, she faces 25 years to life in prison.
Upon leaving the courthouse on Tuesday, October 4, one dismissed alternate juror reportedly shouted two words towards a crowd of reporters – “not guilty.”
“I hope all the jurors see the same thing,” Barbara said. “I expect to be found not guilty, because I know that I am.”
The defense’s case was centered on the roughly two decades of physical and emotional abuse that Barbara claims she suffered at the hands of her husband, who she says was a very paranoid man with “mental issues.”
“Our father was very abusive and a horrible person,” said Jennifer Sheehan, the couple’s 25-year-old daughter. “I saw a lot of abuse on my mom. It is quite obvious that it was self defense and that she’s not guilty.”
Among the myriad of injuries Barbara says her husband inflicted on her weekly in what she called their “house of nightmares” were broken fingers, black eyes, a broken ear drum, a dislocated nose and stitches in her forehead from him “bashing my head against a cinderblock wall during a trip to Jamaica.” She says her husband also had four loaded guns in the house at all times.
Barbara has been highly critical of the tactics used by Assistant District Attorney Debra Pomodore during the trial and described the ADA’s request for her to hold the guns as “total manipulation.”
“I think that the Queens District Attorney’s Office is a disgrace,” she said. “They lied about everything. They said that it wasn’t self defense and that they knew what happened, but they weren’t there. Each one of their witnesses was discredited. Pomodore showed no proof to show that any of us lied.”
If acquitted of the charges against her, Barbara says she plans to speak out against domestic violence and help women in abusive relationships. She also says she hopes to shine light on police officers involved in domestic violence, which she describes as “more difficult and scary,” because “you can’t call the police on the police.”