Female Prisoner Has the Chance for Early Release

Oct 8, 2013

Gates Correctional Institution in Niantic.
Credit Connecticut Department of Correction

Bonnie Jean Foreshaw, a woman believed to be Connecticut’s longest-serving female prison inmate, will have the rare chance for early release Wednesday. The clemency hearing is to be held at Gates Correctional Institution in Niantic.

Foreshaw has been behind bars in Connecticut for more than 27 years for killing a pregnant woman in the mid 1980s. She was granted this week’s clemency hearing after a memo was found written years ago, by then-public defender, now Superior Court Judge Jon Blue. Blue said he believes Foreshaw’s legal representation at the time was ineffective, or in his words, “even downright shocking.”

Foreshaw was a battered woman who had endured verbal and physical abuse as a child. She was mother at the age of 13. Later, she was the victim of horrific domestic violence.

On the night of the shooting in 1986, a man she’d never met before followed her outside a Hartford club, shouting insults because she refused to let him buy her a drink. A woman neither of them knew stepped in to try and diffuse the situation. When Foreshaw fired what she claims was meant to be a warning shot, the man, by his own admission, pulled the other woman in front of him as a shield. The bullet killed the woman, who was six months pregnant.

Foreshaw was arrested on two counts of murder for killing the mother and the unborn child. Eventually, a judge ruled that she couldn’t be tried in the death of the fetus. She was tried for premeditated murder and sentenced to 45 years in prison. Now, Connecticut’s Board of Pardons and Paroles will determine if Foreshaw should be released based on the new evidence.

Visit WNPR.org at about 9:00 am on Wednesday to watch the hearing live.