BATON ROUGE, La. (KALB) – On Sept. 19, virtually two years after submitting an software for a clemency listening to earlier than the Board of Pardons, John Sheehan, 57, obtained information that might change the remainder of his life. Sheehan is presently housed on the Louisiana State Penitentiary.
In a unanimous vote, the five-member panel with the Board of Pardons granted a suggestion for commutation of Sheehan’s life sentence to 99 years with eligibility for parole. That suggestion will likely be handed on to Gov. John Bel Edwards, who will make the ultimate determination.
Sheehan, who has served virtually 36 years in jail, was convicted of second-degree homicide for the Could 1986 lethal taking pictures of his spouse, Monica Jeansonne Sheehan, 19. He claims he was cleansing his father’s shotgun when it by accident discharged, the bullet hanging Monica in her chest. The Avoyelles Parish coroner on the time dominated the taking pictures unintentional.
The Sheehans, who lived in Florida on the time whereas John was serving within the U.S. Air Power, had been in Louisiana visiting household. The taking pictures occurred at John’s grandmother’s home. She, together with the Sheehans’ eight-month-old son, had been in the home when the taking pictures occurred.
Although September’s listening to resulted within the Board of Pardon’s approval, it was not the primary time Sheehan has fought for freedom since his arrest in 1986.
On Nov. 19, 1986, Sheehan was discovered responsible of second-degree homicide. Proof introduced throughout that trial confirmed John bought two life insurance coverage insurance policies on his spouse, totaling $125,000 two weeks earlier than her dying, signing her identify to at least one. The coroner within the trial, Dr. F.P Bordelon, testified that the bullet path discovered within the sufferer’s post-mortem didn’t match Sheehan’s story. Additional testimony confirmed the couple was having monetary and marital issues.
Sheehan appealed that conviction, and it was overturned by the third Circuit Court docket of Attraction after discovering an announcement credited to Sheehan and used within the trial was inadmissible. The courtroom ordered Sheehan to be retried.
He was granted a brand new trial, and in April 1988, he was once more discovered responsible of second-degree homicide in a 10-2 verdict by a twelfth Judicial District Court docket jury.
Nevertheless, in November 1988, the State Supreme Court docket as soon as once more granted a brand new listening to for his request for a brand new trial, regarding protection proof not linked with the taking pictures of Sheehan’s spouse. This time, the protection’s issues surrounded a juror’s involvement with the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Workplace and different jurors’ prior data of the case.
In January 1989, twelfth Judicial District Choose Harold Brouillette denied John’s request for a brand new trial.
Sheehan been serving his sentence ever since, however he’s now hoping to in the future be free.
“No phrases can ever convey how sorry, how remorseful I’m, how a lot I want that there was a way that I may take away the ache from my son and from my in-laws,” stated Sheehan to the Board. “It’s one thing that I can solely put in God’s arms.”
A number of folks testified in help of John’s request, together with a number of wardens, all who detailed his management whereas serving time. He helped facilitate re-entry automotive packages within the Nineteen Nineties. He additionally earned a level from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to function a chaplain and missionary in Louisiana prisons.
Sheehan described himself as a “helpless wreck” and “egocentric particular person” in 1986, however since then, all the pieces he has completed “has been what God has completed by [him].”
Though there have been nonetheless questions surrounding his story of what occurred throughout the taking pictures, Sheehan stated that he was liable for his spouse’s dying and no person else was, and “no person deserved to die that manner.”
On the concept the life insurance coverage insurance policies made the taking pictures appear deliberate, Sheehan stated, “I’ve no rationalization besides to say, I understand how it seems, and I’m deeply sorry for the way it seems.”
The one particular person to talk in opposition to Sheehan’s request was Marie McDowell, the sufferer’s mom. Monica was McDowell’s solely little one.
McDowell claimed Sheehan abused his spouse, beating her at their home in Florida. She stated she tried to persuade her daughter to depart him, discovering bullet holes within the partitions of their Florida dwelling the place he had shot at her earlier than. She claims Sheehan informed the sufferer’s father he hated her and needed her out of his life.
“He’s asking for clemency,” stated McDowell to the Board. “He’s asking for his life again, however my daughter doesn’t have that likelihood. He took that away from her when he killed her.”
McDowell stated Sheehan’s expression of regret was the primary time he had ever stated he was remorseful in 36 years.
Within the Board’s vote, all judges within the case agreed they might not argue that the Sheehan earlier than them was a distinct man, and whereas they sympathized with McDowell, all of them really helpful commutation of Sheehan’s sentence.
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