Barbara Sheehan, the Queens woman acquitted of murdering her husband after testifying she suffered years of domestic abuse, was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison on a related gun charge, but she remains free on bail pending an appeal. NY1’s Roger Clark filed the following report.
Barbara Sheehan walked away from the Queens criminal courthouse Thursday after learning her fate: five years in prison on a gun possession charge in connection with the shooting death of her husband. She remains free on bail pending an appeal.
Her attorney, Michael Dowd, told the judge he was appalled at the sentence.
"It's very disappointing," said Dowd.
Sheehan was acquitted last month of murdering her husband, retired New York City Police Department Sergeant Raymond Sheehan. She admitted to killing him but said it was in self-defense after years of abuse at his hands.
Sheehan fired 11 shots with two guns and was convicted for the illegal possession of one of them. She could have faced 15 years in prison on the charge, but her attorney said even the reduced sentence is wrong.
"I think it is a horrific message, the sentence in this case of five years, a horrific message for battered women. I think if you're a battered woman , move someplace else if you expect to get help, cause you're not gonna get it here," said defense attorney Michael Dowd.
Before the sentencing, the wife of Raymond Sheehan's twin brother spoke and dismissed the idea that Barbara Sheehan was a victim in this case, saying, "The defendant may believe she convinced everyone that she is the real victim here, but we know better."
Assistant District Attorney Debra Pomodore followed up and said that Sheehan had showed no remorse for what she did and didn’t try to communicate with the family. However, when she got a chance to speak, Sheehan told the judge, "I am sorry for what happened, and they all know it."
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown later released a statement saying, “Under all of the circumstances of this case, the sentence imposed was appropriate and commensurate with the seriousness of the offense."
Sheehan's attorneys have 30 days to file a notice that they attend to appeal. They say it will be about nine months to a year before the case reaches an appellate court.