Barbara Sheehan

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Barbara Sheehan was beaten and abused by her husband until February 18, 2008 when she defended herself and killed her abuser with his own weapons. A jury of her peers found her innocent of murder yet guilty of criminally possessing of a weapon to legally defend herself against imminent death. Learn how the injustice and abuse continues to this day

On February 18, 2008, Barbara Sheehan knew her husband was going to kill her – not just someday, but that day.  Throughout their 24-year marriage he had continually threatened to kill her, then her two children, and then to “go out in a blaze of glory.”  And he had also regularly beaten, punched, slapped, kicked, tackled, pinched, spat on and thrown things at her, including a full pot of simmering pasta sauce.  Over those years she’d suffered broken bones, black eyes, a broken nose and uncounted other bloody injuries.

But that day in February the beatings would finally end. That morning when her husband, retired NYPD Sgt. Raymond Sheehan, pointed the gun at her face and said, “I will fucking kill you,” for the first time in her life Barbara too held a gun.  And moments later Raymond Sheehan lay dead on the blood-soaked bathroom floor of their Howard Beach home.

Today, almost 6 years later, Barbara Sheehan is in prison for illegally possessing a weapon so that she could legally defend herself. If that isn’t bad enough, the court sentenced Barbara to prison even though it knew that this sentence would have no deterrent or rehabilitative effect on her as she would never see a courtroom again. Barbara was and is a law abiding person who legally defended herself.

But the injustice did not stop there, no it didn’t. The Court decided that she should spend more than double the possible minimum in custody for legally defending herself against the threat of imminent death.


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