“I know I’m safe now.
I can go to bed at night, and put my head on my pillow and not worry about what
Barbara will be sentenced in two weeks for possessing the
gun she used in the shooting, but should remain free on bail through her appeal,
which could take a year. The department of education, where she is a secretary,
has notified her they will fire her since she is now a convicted felon. She’s
hopeful she will win the appeal, and ultimately her job back. Despite all those
obstacles, she’s thankful, and hopeful. Tomorrow at 5, she shares how she’s
rebuilding her life by trying to make other lives better.
has become the unintended poster child for Domestic Violence. Her story grabbed
national headlines after she was found clutching two guns on her Howard Beach
living room floor, admitting she’d shot her retired cop husband in the family
The story that was revealed during her murder trial was heart
wrenching–a woman who’d been abused for 17 years by a man who was obsessed by
twisted sexual fantasies.
For the first time since she beat the murder
charge and went away for nearly 2 weeks to Riker’s Island Jail, Barbara Sheehan
is telling her story exclusively to PIX 11.
“I knew I needed to do
something. I knew the end was near I knew he was going to kill me,” Barbara
Sheehan can now state matter-of-factly.
The mother of two is weaning
herself off anxiety medicine, and sleeping pills, the hangover from years of
panic attacks as she coped with the aftermath of shooting her husband.
all ended in February, 2008 with 2 guns, 11 bullets, and Barbara being the only
one to walk away. 24 years of marriage for Ray and Barbara Sheehan came to this
explosive conclusion after years of abuse according to Barbara.
married her high school sweetheart at just 22, despite seeing early warning
signs. “He was very possessive of my time, didn’t want me to go out with my
friends,” recounts Barbara of their early dates. But they reunited after a
break up and eventually wed. And once married, more clues slipped in once Ray
started to slap her around
“He came from an abusive home. He was abused,
verbally, emotionally, physically,” all at the hands of his mother. Soon as a
child he was venting his silent rage on animals.
“That’s another first
sign of an abuser. Another sign to get out if people are telling you how they
abused animals as a child,” said Barbara and eventually he turned all that anger
She sums it up in one terrible sentence. “It was a house of
Horrors,” she says.
The violence escalated after their second child, son
Raymond, was born. But Barbara never told anyone, never
“He’d hit me with the receiver and say go ahead and call
them, you think they’re going to take a police report from a sergeant, you think
they’re going to believe you?” taunted Ray, according to Barbara.
a cop he knew where to put the bruises. On your back, the top parts of your
arms on top part of your legs, places where people don’t see them.”
still bears the scar from having her head split open and stitched up after Ray
smashed her head against a hotel room wall while on a Jamaican vacation. Ray
would blame Barbara for the cuts bruises, calling her a clumsy. And Barbara’s
shame pushed her to secrecy as well. “You learn how to cover things up. You
don’t see them for a week while the black eye is healing. You have a cold, you
can’t come out. You wear a turtleneck because you have marks on your neck,” she
The relationship took its ultimate violent turn for the
worse once Barbara stumbled on Ray’s true secret while on the family
Barbara recounted, I would log on and these people would start
talking to me. Originally I thought it was a woman he was having an affair with
but then there was no woman. He went with transvestites. He would meet up with
these young people he would dress up as a woman; they would dress up as a
woman. He wanted to act as a baby; I don’t even know what it was called.
Infantilism? He was into that, wearing diapers. I knew for years. It had been
at least 10 years since we had any sex,” Barbara spelled it all out.
knew all the dirty nasty little sexual secrets that he was embarrassed by that
he was shamed by?” asked reporter Kirstin Cole, “You think that’s part of the
reason why you had to go?”
“I knew too much,” said
Barbara’s most basic instincts kicked in, and sent her a
message. “I could see and sense he was losing his mind, he was losing control of
himself and it was going to end and he was definitely going to kill me,” she
The District Attorney’s office tried desperately to prove
Barbara manufactured the abuse allegations, trying to discredit her own
testimony as well as that of her children who witnessed so much of the abuse,
and friends who vouched for the cuts, bruises and verbal abuse. Ultimately, the
jury believed Barbara and that she was justified in shooting her husband in self
The scenario she describes is all symptomatic of domestic
violence. It happens behind closed doors; victims are silent and are so scared
the abuser may hurt other family members they often choose to suffer in silence,
as Barbara did.