A woman who was convicted in a 1986 killing of a Hartford woman will be released in November after a hearing by Connecticut's Board of Pardons and Paroles was held on Wednesday.
Bonnie Jean Foreshaw was sentenced to 45 years in jail, the longest sentence for a woman in Connecticut when she was convicted, and with good behavior, she would have been released in 2017.
On Wednesday afternoon, the board decided that Foreshaw, who has been incarcerated for 27 years, would be granted clemency by a three-member parole board. Foreshaw will be getting out of jail on Nov. 13.
"It's been a long journey and I never gave up faith. Without faith we wouldn't be here," said Silva Robinson, who is Foreshaw's daughter. "My mother was a very religious woman. She made one mistake in her life."
Foreshaw shot Joyce Amos by accident when a man named Hector Freeman, whom Foreshaw said was threatening her, grabbed Amos and pulled her in front of him as Foreshaw pulled the trigger. The shooting occurred outside a Hartford social club.
During the appeals process, the court said that while Foreshaw walked away, she actually went to her car and returned with a gun.
"I have claimed responsibility from day one," Foreshaw said at the hearing.
Supporters of Foreshaw said they feel that if she was convicted of manslaughter, she would have been out of jail already.
In May, the state Board of Pardon and Paroles initially denied Foreshaw a clemency hearing, but later reversed its decision when a memo written in 1989 by now Superior Court Judge John Blue was brought to their attention.
At the time, Blue was a public defender and questioned the public defender who represented Foreshaw, using the words malpractice, disturbing and shocking.
"We believe you have sufficiently rehabilitated yourself and that you do not pose a present or future danger to anyone," said the board chairman during the hearing.
The relatives of Amos were also at the hearing on Wednesday morning, and they said they were devastated by her killing and want Foreshaw to finish her sentence.
"I don't feel the decision was correct. I love and miss my sister," said Ahmad Gibson, who is the victim's brother. "She was a beautiful person. Again we will abide by what the board said."
A movie about the Foreshaw case called a Nature of the Beast, which showcased the story of the victim and Foreshaw. In the movie, it said the two women were both abused by their partners.
Freeing Foreshaw was only a recent goal of many people including author Wally Lamb, who was Foreshaw's writing teacher in prison.
"I'm just so happy, so relieved that they decided to land on the side of mercy," Lamb said.
Once Foreshaw is released, her family said she will be living with her daughter in a computerized world that she has never experienced before.
"It's a long road from here. I can't wait to have her home and people just respect her privacy. So we can get her adjusted," Robinson said.
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