Woman Claims Self Defense After Killing Her Husband By Shooting Him 11 Times


Tears: Barbara Sheehan, 50, of Queens, New York, is charged with murdering former NYPD sergeant Raymond Sheehan, 49, and she fell apart on the witness stand during the trial on Wednesday (file picture)

Tears: Barbara Sheehan, 50, of Queens, New York, is charged with murdering former NYPD sergeant Raymond Sheehan, 49, and she fell apart on the witness stand during the trial on Wednesday (file picture)

She fell apart on the witness stand – weeping, clutching her chest, gagging and gasping for air – when asked to pick up a gun she allegedly used to shoot her husband in their home.

Barbara Sheehan, 50, of Queens, New York, is charged with murdering former NYPD sergeant Raymond Sheehan, 49, in 2008. However she claims he was an abusive, reckless and terrifying man.

She shot her husband 11 times using two handguns couplethat he kept loaded, prosecutors say. But she has pleaded not guilty, claimed self-defence and drawn the attention of domestic violence activists.

‘I’m afraid I’m going to get sick,’ Sheehan said in court on Wednesday, barely able to glance at the .38-calibre revolver that lay on the witness stand next to her. ‘I don’t want to do it.’

Sheehan was hammered with questions on her husband’s life insurance policies and the moments leading to the shooting by Debra Pomodore, prosecuting, during the third day of cross-examination.

Sheehan was often contradictory and claimed to not remember signing cheques her two children had written to her – proceeds from their father’s life insurance policies.

She said that they helped her pay the bills, but that she did not specifically benefit from the money.

Her two children, Jennifer, 25, and Raymond, 21, have both said that their father abused them and their mother, and that they lived in fear of him.

Together: Sheehan, right, claimed her husband Raymond, left, was an abusive, reckless and terrifying man

They are expected to testify at the trial, and both wept with their mother as she composed herself in a courtroom pew after she was asked to hold the revolver.

Prosecutors tried to show on the shooting day in February 2008 Sheehan was not fearful for her life. She proofed her son’s school paper, drank coffee and made travel arrangements for a trip to Florida.

Sheehan claimed she didn’t want to go with her husband on vacation but was pretending to out of fear because he had said he would kill her if she didn’t come. The fight prompted the fatal argument.

He dragged her out of bed the morning of the shooting and threw her out of the house in her pyjamas, saying she couldn’t come back until she agreed to go with him, she told the court.

Allegations: Sheehan shot her husband 11 times using two handguns that he kept loaded, prosecutors say

But she stood outside nearly an hour in the winter cold before agreeing to come.

The retired officer kept loaded his loaded service weapon, a Glock handgun, and an off-duty gun, the revolver. Often he kept one holstered to his side – and the other on his ankle.

Living with the man I lived with, I tried to survive the best I could,’ she testified.

Assistant District Attorney Ms Pomodore asked repeatedly whether Sheehan ever called 911 or a domestic violence hotline in the hours leading to the shooting. The answer was always no.

After her husband got into the shower, she left to go to a friend’s house, where she was frantic. ‘I didn’t know what to do,’ she said.

She went back home to get the $1,700 in cash she had stashed in her drawer and said she planned to tell her husband she was going to get dog food but never come back.

During testimony, Sheehan was barely understandable through tears – her head down, face in her hands, shielding her eyes from Ms Pomodore, as she said he pointed the gun at her and she fired.

‘I don’t know what I was thinking then – I was so scared,’ she said. ‘I thought he’d come after me and kill me.’ But prosecutors sought to suggest he did not point the gun at her, and noted he never fired.

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