Family, Friends Celebrate In Courtroom After Sheehan Verdict

A jubilant Sheehan family barely contained their joy over Barbara Sheehan being acquitted on murder charges. Her dozens of family members and friends, most in purple - the color of domestic violence awareness - screamed in the courtroom with jubilation as one, then a second Not Guilty verdict was read Wednesday.

But it was only a partial acquittal as Barbara was found guilty of criminal possession of a weapon, and is facing years in Prison for shooting her ex cop husband with his own service weapon, a 9 mm Glock handgun she said he dropped in the bathroom after she shot him with his own loaded .38 caliber pistol.

Her attorney Michael Dowd gathered with the Sheehan clan on the steps of the Queens County Supreme Court House steps, saying, "There is no joy. No joy today. The one thing that can bring joy is going back 17 years before the first blow was struck."

Barbara Sheehan was speechless as relief washed over her when the jury returned a Not Guilty verdict for murdering her husband Raymond 3 and a half years ago. Sheehan's family surrounded her as they have every day during her month long trial. Supporting her as she was acquitted of murder, but found guilty on one charge of criminal possession of a weapon for using her husband's Glock to fire the last of 11 bullets at him. Her family could not hold back their emotions.

Father Michael Henry stoically stood behind his daughter on the courthouse steps, tears glistening in his eyes, "We are just happy she has been acquitted. We thank the jury. That's all."

Jennifer Joyce, who has spoken exclusively to PIX 11 throughout the trial, would only defer to defense attorney Michael Dowd, saying briefly, "I will talk to you soon, I promise."

Daughter Jennifer's gut wrenching testimony was pivotal in acquitting her mother, as was her younger brother Raymond, both of whom painted their father as an abusive monster they both believed would some day kill their mother. Meanwhile, Sheehan's defense team is already planning for and researching new approaches to appealing the one gun conviction.

Attorney Niall MacGiollabhui, who specializes in gun charges in Dowd's defense practice said, "I think without question we will appeal this. The question is how many grounds we will use."

After digesting her acquittal, Sheehan shared her feelings exclusively with PIX 11, " I am terribly relieved to have been found not guilty of murder. I wish to thank my family, my wonderful children, Jennifer and Raymond, my attorneys, the jurors, and everyone who has supported me and believed in me."

Sheehan could face a minimum 2 and a quarter years in prison on the gun charges being considered for appeal.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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