Tag Archives: Raymond Sheehan

Barbara Sheehan seeks clemency, sticking to self-defense argument


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYSPAC

Six months ago Barbara Sheehan began her five-year sentence after shooting and killing her husband. Today, she is seeking an exception to her prison stay, and wants to serve her time for weapons possession at home.

The 52-year-old Howard Beach resident fatally shot her husband, retired NYPD Sergeant Raymond Sheehan, 11 times with two different guns in February 2008. She said she suffered nearly two decades of abuse at her husband’s hands and he would have killed her had she not pulled the trigger.

“When you’re in a domestic violence situation, it’s not as black and white as it appears to be,” Sheehan told The Courier. “Just looking at his face, his eyes told me this was it. He was getting up and he was going to kill me.”

A prison support group created an online petition to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to grant Sheehan clemency. So far, about 2,000 people have signed and pledged their support.

Sheehan was acquitted of murder but charged with weapons possession for the second gun she used that day. She is currently serving her sentence at the Albion Correctional Facility in upstate New York.

The former school secretary was charged because when she shot with the second firearm, her husband no longer posed a threat. However, she said he didn’t die after shots from the first gun.

“He was still trying to come after me,” she said.

After starting her time last summer, she reached out to the New York State Prisoner Assistance Center (PAC) to address an “administrative issue” in the prison, said PAC Executive Director Mario Vredenburg. He then started to look into Sheehan’s case and is helping her apply for executive clemency.

If the order is granted, Sheehan will be able to serve the remainder of her sentence from home. The toughest part about prison, she said, is being far from her family and two children.

Vredenburg said prisoners can apply for clemency in exceptional circumstances, namely if something was legally wrong with the conviction. He said there was no criminal intent when Sheehan used the two guns, they were not her guns to begin with and Sheehan’s life was “in imminent danger.”

Additionally, Sheehan said the jury was “forbidden” to hear her psychiatrist’s testimony, who would have detailed her “state of mind” at the time of the shooting.

“I was not able to defend myself properly,” she said.

The PAC will file on Sheehan’s behalf with the governor’s office in March.

“We’re not asking for the governor to say it was legal for her to use that gun. We’re asking him to forgive her conviction,” Vredenburg said.

To see the petition and read more, click here.

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Tome tells tale of life in the Sheehan home


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

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More than four years after Barbara Sheehan fired 11 shots into her husband, Raymond Sheehan Sr., inside their Howard Beach home, the couple’s children have released a book telling their side of the story.

The book, “In Bed With the Badge: the Barbara Sheehan Story,” hit shelves Tuesday, July 17. The story is told through the point of view of Jennifer Sheehan Joyce and Raymond Sheehan Jr., about what it was like growing up in the Sheehan home.

Their mother, Barbara, was acquitted in the 2008 murder of Sheehan, a retired NYPD officer who was reported to have been physically and emotionally abusive to Barabara and the children. She still faces five years in prison, however, on a second degree weapons conviction which she and her lawyers are in the process of appealing.

Jennifer and Raymond Sheehan Jr., who were 21 and 18 at the time of the shooting, respectively, both took the stand in defense of their mother at the 2011 trial and confirmed her reports that the retired police sergeant had been abusive.

Raymond Jr. said writing the book was intended to help those living in a broken or abusive home get out before it was too late.

“I think [the book] will help other victims of domestic violence see what the warning signs are and it will help them get out early,” he said at the family’s home. “Especially if they’re in danger. I think that was the main idea.”

He went on to reaffirm that the tome elaborated on their testimony in court.

“I hope it will reinforce the idea that none of us was lying and everything we told was the truth,” the now 22-year-old said. “These were all the stories and stuff and they can really see what we went through and how bad it was.”

Raymond Jr. added that while he didn’t think the book would bring closure, the Sheehans had been doing better than they had been.

Niall MacGiollabhui, Barbara Sheehan’s lawyer, said he had filed an appeal of the weapons conviction and was waiting for a response from the prosecution.

“We’re praying and hope that we win the appeal,” Raymond Jr. said.

— Additional Reporting by Philip Hertling

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/11/2011: Jury Acquits Assemblyman of Conspiring to Take Bribes


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Jury Acquits Assemblyman of Conspiring to Take Bribes

William F. Boyland Jr., a Democratic assemblyman from one of Brooklyn’s most prominent political families, was acquitted on Thursday of conspiring to take $175,000 in bribes in return for using his influence on behalf of a health care organization that runs hospitals in Queens and Brooklyn. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Barbara Sheehan sentenced to five years in prison

After dodging a murder conviction for the death of her husband, Barbara Sheehan has been reportedly sentenced to five years behind bars on a second degree weapons charge related to the case. Sheehan, who faced up to 15 years in prison prior to her sentencing, was acquitted of murder after a jury determined she acted in self-defense when she shot her husband, Raymond, a retired NYPD sergeant, 11 times on the morning of February 18, 2008. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Queens Councilman Pleads Guilty To Charges Stemming From 1996 Larceny Case

Just two days after winning re-election, a City Councilman pleaded guilty Thursday to charges stemming from a 15-year-old larceny case. Queens Councilman Ruben Wills admitted to stealing items and damaging a Manhattan office building in 1996. The case will be closed without jail time or probation if he does three days of community service and pays $2,500 in restitution. Wills said the incident arose from a business dispute. An outstanding warrant was issued for his arrest after he missed court dates. Read More: NY1

 

10th Anniversary Memorial Ceremony for American Airlines Flight 587 on Saturday

Saturday, November 12 American Airlines Flight 587 10th anniversary memorial ceremony

Beach 116th Street, Belle Harbor – 9 a.m.

There will be a moment of silence at 9:16 a.m. at the time of the crash, followed by a reading of the victims’ names. The ceremony will be held at the memorial site, which was unveiled for the fifth anniversary. More Event Details: Queens Courier

 

Stalled Road Construction Keeps Forest Hills Residents From Getting Sleep

Forest Hills residents are complaining they cannot get any sleep because of the noise stemming from cars driving over a work site on 71st Avenue. Read More: NY1

 

City surrenders in long battle to turn historic St. Saviour’s site into Maspeth park

The city has given up its long fight to acquire the land where a historic Maspeth church once stood and turn it into park space. But the city and now looking into purchasing a City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) are smaller parcel of land from the nearby Martin Luther School as an alternative to the St. Saviour’s site. Read More: Daily News

 

Woodside monument honoring World War I heroes gets face-lift for Veterans Day

The majestic statue that stands at the foot of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Woodside was created to honor local soldiers who paid the ultimate price in World War I. The female figure, sword in one hand and shield in the other, stands sentry over the tiny plaza in the neighborhood formerly known as Winfield. Read More: Daily News

[UPDATE] Barbara Sheehan sentenced to five years in prison


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Michael Pantelidis

After dodging a murder conviction for the death of her husband, Barbara Sheehan has been sentenced to five years behind bars on a second degree weapons charge related to the case.

Sheehan, who faced up to 15 years in prison prior to her sentencing, was acquitted of murder after a jury determined she acted in self-defense when she shot her husband, Raymond, a retired NYPD sergeant, 11 times on the morning of February 18, 2008. The Howard Beach resident and mother of two was also sentenced to two-and-a-half years of post-release supervision.

During the trial, Sheehan, 50, testified that she was a victim of domestic abuse for nearly 20 years, which her attorney, Niall MacGiollabhui, says should have been taken into consideration in her sentence.

“Mr. [Michael] Dowd [her attorney], Barbara and I are all disappointed with the sentence,” said MacGiollabhui. “The main reason we are disappointed is that there is a penal law which allows for a reduced sentence if the judge finds that the defendant is a victim of domestic violence and that violence was a factor in the crime that was committed. That finding is meant to be made during a hearing, which is held prior to sentencing. The judge in this case refused to have a hearing, and then he said that he found Barbara was a victim of domestic violence and that it was a factor in the crime, but that he would give her no credit because of it.”

MacGiollabhui also deems the judge’s decision to be unfair due to his belief that the killing of Barbara’s husband was taken into account during sentencing, despite her acquittal of murder.

“The judge basically said that [Barbara] could have simply left that day, which goes to one of the great myths of domestic violence, which is that the woman is free to leave,” said the attorney.

Sheehan’s bail was recently reinstated, allowing her to return home while she awaited sentencing. Her bail is expected to continue pending an appeal, which MacGiollabhui says should be filed early in the new year.

“Our opinion is that the jury’s verdict is inconsistent as a matter of law,” he said. “If you act in self-defense, then that is not unlawful. It is lawful to use a weapon in self-defense even if it is not licensed to you because your intention is not to use it unlawfully, but in self-defense.”

MacGiollabhui also said that “the manner in which [Barbara] was sentenced and the sentence she received will both be part of the appeal.”

Barbara Sheehan acquitted of murdering her husband


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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Roughly twenty-four hours after informing Justice Barry Kron that they were “hopelessly deadlocked,” the jurors in the Barbara Sheehan trial voted to acquit the Howard Beach resident of murder.

The 50-year-old mother of two was on trial for the death of her husband, retired NYPD sergeant Raymond Sheehan, who she shot 11 times on the morning of February 18, 2008.

Despite exonerating her of murder, the panel of nine women and three men decided to convict Barbara of gun possession in the second degree.

Before the verdict was reached, Barbara faced 25 years to life in prison.

The defense’s case was centered on the 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, who believes her family’s life will be better without her father. “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, 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.

According to reports, Sheehan cried out in the courtroom as the verdict was read.

Sheehan’s fate in the hands of jury


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

doc4e8b702e5e0eb552591518

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.

“It’s sad what happened, but I had no choice,” said Barbara, who claims she was trying to escape from her house when her husband confronted her. “He aimed a gun at me. He tried to kill me, and I had to defend myself. I tried to get away, but he wouldn’t allow me to. At the time I thought that if I had a gun maybe he wouldn’t come at me, but that didn’t work.”

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.”