Sheehan out on bail pending appeal hearing

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Barbara Sheehan, the Howard Beach mother who was acquitted of murdering her husband, could enjoy freedom for at least a year after she was released on bail from Rikers Island Monday afternoon, where she was being held on a gun charge.

“It’s a relief,” said Michael Dowd, one of Sheehan’s lawyers, hours after the release.

Sheehan was found not guilty of murder after she shot her husband Raymond Sheehan, an ex-NYPD cop, 11 times with two guns while he was shaving in their Howard Beach bathroom Feb. 18, 2008. But she was found guilty of illegally possessing a gun.

Sheehan turned herself over to authorities on the gun charge Oct. 12 and spent the next 12 days in the Rose M. Singer Center in Rikers, which houses female and adolescent prisoners, according to the city Department of Corrections.

Queens Supreme Court Judge Barry Kron was still scheduled to sentence Sheehan Nov. 10 — the gun charge calls for between 3 1/2 and 15 years though Sheehan will get less for time already served — but her lawyers have secured a stay of sentence that will keep her out of jail pending an appeal trial, according to Dowd.

And that appeal trial could still be more than a year away.

Sheehan did not have to scrape together more cash in exchange for her freedom since she is out on her original $1 million bail, Dowd said.

During the trial, Sheehan’s lawyers argued that she killed her husband in self-defense.

Sheehan, along with her two children, testified that she was the victim of 17 years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her husband and she feared for her life before shooting him using first a .38-caliber revolver and then a Glock 9mm handgun that he dropped on the floor of the bathroom. She did not own any guns herself.

Niall MacGiollabhui, who also represents Sheehan, said the verdict was likely a compromise between jurors to stick Sheehan with something while letting her off for murder.

The defense plans to appeal the gun charge on the grounds that the verdict was contradictory. Since Sheehan was found to have used both guns in self-defense, she should not have been charged with a criminal possession of a weapon, MacGiollabhui said.

Supports of Sheehan held two vigils in Howard Beach over the last week.

Deacon Alex Breviario, of Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach, presided over a Sunday evening vigil.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 11:14 am, November 10, 2011
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