Battered New York wife who shot husband says truth told at trial

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A woman whose murder trial in the death of her retired police officer husband is considered a test of the battered woman defence said yesterday that “the truth has now been told” as her case wound to a close.

Final legal arguments in the trial of Barbara Sheehan came after weeks of testimony from her and her grown children about the violent household ruled by Raymond Sheehan, 49, a former sergeant with the New York City Police Department.

Both the prosecution and defense said the beatings and bruises came to an end on February 18, 2008, when Barbara Sheehan shot her husband 11 times in their Queens home. The defence said she fired only after he threatened to kill her.

Outside of state Supreme Court in Queens, Sheehan, now 50, said she hoped a jury would find she acted in self defense when it begins deliberating as early as today on charges of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

“I think the defense did a great job,” she said. “The truth has now been told. We’ll see what happens next.”
Legal experts say the case is a test of the battered-woman defence, in which the history of abuse is explored to explain a woman’s mental state at the time she is accused of committing a crime.

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