EAST LYME, Conn. (WTNH)-- Wednesday, 66-year-old Bonnie Jean Foreshaw was granted clemency after serving 27 years in prison for the premeditated murder of a pregnant woman, Joyce Amos, in Hartford.
When Bonnie Foreshaw walked into the hearing room, she was scheduled to get out of prison in 2017. She's there because she's hoping to change that.
"The fear of being abused. The fear that made me carry a gun. The fear that I was going to be hurt," said Foreshaw.
Bonnie Foreshaw's admission and explanation were met with doubt by the family of Joyce Amos. She was six months pregnant when Foreshaw shot and killed her as she tried to intervene when Hector Freeman threatened Foreshaw outside a Hartford bar in March 1986.
"I believe that using the excuse that she was abused and afraid because of previous relationships did not in any way shape or form prohibit Foreshaw from calling the police if she felt threatened," said Ahmed Gibson, Joyce Amos's brother.
Foreshaw had been abused by three husbands and raped when she was 12. Her mental state was never entered in her defense and many felt she should have been convicted of manslaughter not murder.
Among critical of her defense, Judge Jon Blue who at the time was a public defender.
"I read the transcript and I developed the concerns that are stated in the memorandum," said Blue.
The board of pardons and parole unanimously granted her clemency.
"We're happy to have Bonnie come back home to us," said a friend.
Foreshaw will be released from prison November 15th.
"I don't feel the decision was correct. I loved and missed my sister, she was a beautiful person and again we are going to abide by what the board said," said Gibson.
"My whole family has been very upset with the ordeal for both families, not just my family but both families have been upset. If there's anything we can do, just give a call," said Sylvia Robinson, Foreshaw's daughter.
As it is.. Foreshaw is the longest serving female prisoner in the state.
EAST LYME, Conn. (WTNH) -- A woman in prison for more than two decades for killing a pregnant woman could be set free.
"I am guilty of shooting Ms. Amos. I have claimed responsibility from day one," said Bonnie Foreshaw, convicted of murder.
And that's why Foreshaw has been in prison for the last 27 years. However, at a clemency hearing today she is arguing to get out based on her background and mental state the night she shot Joyce Amos.
"The fear of being abused. The fear that made me carry a gun," Foreshaw said. "The fear that I was going to be hurt."
Foreshaw was abused, raped since she was a girl. She had her first child at 12. She says when she was at a Hartford bar in March of 1986, she was afraid another man was going to attack her, so she pulled out a gun and fired.
However, the bullet hit Amos, who was six months pregnant. A jury convicted Foreshaw of first-degree murder. She got a 45 year sentence, but experts say her public defender should have argued Foreshaw was under extreme emotional distress.
"That's a basis for reducing a charge from murder to manslaughter, and manslaughter carries a far shorter prison term than murder," said Professor Bill Dunlap, Quinnipiac University Law School.
Back in 1989, a public defender named Jon Blue wrote a memo agreeing that Foreshaw's attorney blew it at trial.
"I read the transcript and I developed the concerns that are stated in the memorandum," said Jon Blue, Superior Court Judge.
Blue is now a judge; he presided over the Cheshire home invasion trials. The Board of Pardons and Paroles heard from him, and from the victim's family.
"When my dad came into my room with tears in his eyes. I can never recall my dad crying before that time, before he told me the terrible news that my mom was shot and did not make it," said Tamara Miller, victim's daughter.
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