Wife found not guilty in murder of ex-cop

October 7, 2011 4:46:19 PM PDT
A jury has found the Queens woman accused of murdering her husband who was an ex-police officer not guilty.

Thursday night, Barbara Sheehan is with her family, including her two children who testified their mother had no choice but to kill their father.

She's facing anywhere between three to 15 years behind bars.

But they're thankful she won't be spending the rest of her life behind bars.

Barbara Sheehan smiled as she left the courthouse with her 25-year-old daughter Jennifer and 21-year-old son Raymond.

Inside the courtroom, the 50-year-old cried out as she heard the words "not guilty."

Now, she's leaving to talking to her lawyers.

"They're just relaxing as a family. They're holding each other close and very grateful for what happened today," said Michael Dowd, Sheehan's attorney.

The former school secretary spoke to Eyewitness News anchor Sade Baderinwa back in 2008.

She explained from the outside they looked like a happy family but behind closed doors she says she and the kids lived in fear of her husband Raymond.

And that's why she grabbed a gun and shot the retired police sergeant 11 times in their Howard Beach home.

"I was sure that he was going to kill me. There was no doubt about it," Sheehan had said in 2008.

"And you did what?" Baderinwa asked.

"I defended myself. I had to defend myself," Sheehan said.

"And you shot him?" Baderinwa asked.

"Yes I did," Sheehan replied in the interview.

Queens prosecutors argued in court that Sheehan killed her husband because she "despised" that he forced her into kinky sex play with other couples and was out to cash in on a hefty life insurance payout.

District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement: "The jury has now spoken, and I accept its verdict. Today's verdict should not be viewed as a victory for the defense or for victims of domestic violence, just as a guilty verdict would not have represented a victory for the prosecution."

Raymond Sheehan's twin brother Vincent walked away upset and disgusted.

"It was the wrong verdict. She should have been found guilty. But the verdict is the verdict and we have to live with it," Vincent Sheehan said.

Barbara Sheehan was also surrounded by victims of domestic violence for much of the trial.

Her attorneys plan to appeal the guilty verdict on the criminal possession of a weapons count.

She's due back in court for sentencing at a later date.