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UPDATE: Wis. man gets life for killing police officer wife

UPDATED Friday, August 9, 2013 --- 4:16 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- An Iraq War veteran convicted of fatally shooting his police officer wife in the Milwaukee area has been sentenced to life in prison, with no chance for parole for 35 years.

Thirty-year-old Benjamin G. Sebena pleaded guilty earlier this year to first-degree intentional homicide. The charge carries a mandatory life sentence, but the judge on Friday had the choice to allow for the possibility for parole after 20 years. Wisconsin doesn't have the death penalty.

Thirty-year-old Jennifer Sebena, a Wauwatosa police officer, was conducting a pre-dawn patrol on Christmas Eve when her husband gunned her down.

Benjamin Sebena told investigators he was a jealous husband.

He initially pleaded insanity, but changed his mind in June after two doctors concluded his mental-health issues weren't severe enough to justify the plea.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, August 9, 2013 ---- 5:30 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- An Iraq War veteran who pleaded guilty to shooting his wife, a Milwaukee-area police officer, is scheduled to be sentenced.

Thirty-year-old Benjamin G. Sebena initially pleaded insanity. But he changed his plea in June after two doctors concluded that his mental-health issues weren't severe enough to justify an insanity plea.

He was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, which carries a mandatory life sentence. However, the judge Friday will have the option of granting him parole eligibility after at least 20 years. Prosecutors have said they'll recommend Sebena not be eligible for parole for at least 50 years.

Sebena was convicted of ambushing 30-year-old Jennifer Sebena, a Wauwatosa police officer, as she conducted a solo pre-dawn patrol on Christmas Eve. He told investigators he was a jealous husband.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, August 6, 2013 --- 6:59 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A wounded Iraq war veteran who killed his wife while she was on duty as a Wauwatosa police officer on Christmas Eve will get a life sentence on Friday.

But Benjamin Sebena's lawyers say he should at least get a chance for parole.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports they appealed for leniency in a sentencing memorandum Tuesday that details the effects of his combat experience, including a claim to have killed 68 people.

The memo also suggests Sebena believes he killed his wife, Jennifer Sebena, so she'd go to heaven, fearful she'd take her own life if he committed suicide first.

Sebena tried to pursue an insanity plea, but doctors said his condition did not support it, though he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press
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UPDATED Wednesday, June 26, 2012 --- 2:13 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- An Iraq War veteran accused of fatally shooting his wife, a Milwaukee-area police officer, last year has pleaded guilty to a homicide charge.

Thirty-year-old Benjamin G. Sebena originally pleaded insanity to first-degree intentional homicide. But two doctors agreed that while he has significant mental health issues, they don't rise to the level of supporting an insanity plea.

Sebena was convicted Wednesday afternoon in Milwaukee. He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Prosecutors will recommend Sebena be eligible for parole in 50 to 60 years.

The criminal complaint says Sebena acknowledged ambushing 30-year-old Jennifer Sebena while the Wauwatosa police officer was conducting a pre-dawn patrol alone on Christmas Eve. Ben Sebena told investigators he was a jealous husband and had been stalking her.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, June 26, 2013 --- 5:55 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Iraq veteran accused of killing his wife, a Milwaukee-area police officer, on Christmas Eve has reached a plea deal.

Thirty-year-old Benjamin Sebena was scheduled to face trial next month on a charge of first-degree intentional homicide. But his defense attorney sought a plea hearing Tuesday, and a judge scheduled one for Wednesday afternoon.

Sebena had originally pleaded insanity. But two doctors who agreed that he has mental-health issues said those issues don't rise to the level of supporting an insanity plea.

The criminal complaint says Sebena acknowledged ambushing his wife in Wauwatosa while she conducted a pre-dawn patrol alone.

Sebena's defense attorney wanted those statements tossed because Sebena hadn't been read his Miranda rights first, but the judge said Sebena didn't become a suspect until later in the investigation.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, June 25, 2013 --- 5:48 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- An Iraq veteran accused of killing his wife, a Milwaukee-area police officer, on Christmas Eve is ready to enter a plea.

Online court records say a plea hearing for 30-year-old Benjamin Sebena has been set for Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. His trial on a charge of first-degree intentional homicide was scheduled to start next month.

Sebena initially pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. But two separate doctors concluded that Sebena's mental-health issues don't support an insanity plea.

Prosecutor Mark Williams told The Associated Press on Tuesday a plea has been reached but he declined to elaborate. A message left with defense attorney Michael Steinle was not immediately returned.

Prosecutors say Sebena acknowledged ambushing and fatally shooting his wife, 30-year-old Wauwatosa police Officer Jennifer Sebena.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press
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UPDATED Friday, June 21, 2013 --- 8:53 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A 30-year-old man accused of fatally shooting his wife, a Milwaukee-area police officer, last year is due in court for his final pre-trial hearing.

Benjamin G. Sebena is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of 30-year-old Jennifer Sebena. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

He's due in court Friday. That's when a judge is expected to rule on the defense's motion to toss out statements Sebena made to police in the hours and days after his wife's death.

The defense says detectives should have read Sebena his Miranda rights. Police have said they didn't do so because they didn't immediately consider him a suspect.

Jennifer Sebena was an officer with the Wauwatosa Police Department. She was killed Christmas Eve.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, June 7, 2013 --- 1:46 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A state-hired psychiatrist has decided that an Iraq War veteran was not suffering from a mental disease when he allegedly killed his wife while she was on duty as a suburban Milwaukee police officer.

The report was discussed during a hearing Friday in the case of Benjamin Sebena.

Prosecutors say Sebena admitted to fatally shooting his wife Jennifer Sebena in Wauwatosa on Christmas Eve.

He has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. His attorney has also hired a doctor to examine him and that report is expected to be reviewed at a June 21 hearing. A judge is also expected to issue a ruling then about whether Sebena's alleged confession to police should be thrown out.

His trial is set for July 8.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, June 7, 2013 --- 8:47 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The attorney for an Iraq War veteran charged with killing his wife as she worked as a Milwaukee-area police officer is trying to get his statements to police thrown out.

Prosecutors say 30-year-old Ben Sebena acknowledged ambushing his Jennifer Sebena while she conducted a pre-dawn patrol alone in Wauwatosa on Christmas Eve.

His attorney has asked that those statements be thrown out and a judge will decide the issue during a hearing on Friday.

Benjamin Sebena has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to the charge of first-degree intentional homicide. Attorneys are also expected to discuss a report by a forensic psychiatrist, who was expected to determine if there was a basis to maintain the plea.

His trial is set to start July 8.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday May 22, 2013 -- 5: 28 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee Brewers are planning to honor the Wauwatosa police officer who was gunned down Christmas Eve while on duty.

The team is dedicating its opening ceremony Friday to Officer Jennifer Sebena. Her husband is charged in her death.

Sebena's family will be at the game, and her friend, Officer Katie Gierach, will throw out the first pitch.

The festivities are part of the team's second annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Night. In honor of the event the team is offering reduced ticket prices for law enforcement officers and their families.

The Brewers will also donate $10 from each ticket sold in special outfield and terrace boxes to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The Brewers will be facing the Pittsburgh Pirates that evening.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, March 1, 2013 --- 5:03 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- An Iraq War veteran charged with killing his wife, a suburban Milwaukee police officer, has changed his plea to not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

Benjamin Sebena will now undergo a mental examination by a court-appointed forensic psychiatrist.

Sebena earlier pleaded not guilty to first-degree intentional homicide in the Christmas Eve shooting death of 30-year-old Jennifer Sebena. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/YcQJ61 ) reports he changed his plea Friday.

Jennifer Sebena was shot five times in the head while on duty. She apparently was ambushed as she left a Wauwatosa fire station.

According to the criminal complaint, Sebena told investigators he had been stalking his wife and was jealous.

Neither his attorney nor an assistant district attorney spoke after the hearing. Trial is set for July 8.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Thursday, January 24, 2013 --- 9:25 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A decorated Iraq War veteran has pleaded not guilty to charges that he killed his wife, a suburban Milwaukee police officer.

Thirty-year-old Benjamin Sebena is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the Christmas Eve killing of Jennifer Sebena, also 30. He was wheeled into court Thursday in a wheelchair and wearing a suicide-prevention vest. Defense attorney Michael Steinle entered the plea on his behalf.

Jennifer Sebena was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds to the head, including wounds inflicted with her own police firearm.

Prosecutors say Ben Sebena acknowledged ambushing his wife while she conducted a pre-dawn patrol alone in Wauwatosa. The criminal complaint says he told investigators he was a jealous husband. Police, however, aren't speculating on a motive.

A trial date will be set March 1.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Thursday, January 24, 2013 --- 8:30 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A decorated Iraq War veteran is scheduled to enter a plea to charges that he killed his wife, a suburban Milwaukee police officer.

Thirty-year-old Benjamin Sebena is set to be arraigned Thursday morning in Milwaukee. He's charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the Christmas Eve killing of Jennifer Sebena, also 30.

Jennifer Sebena was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds to the head, including wounds inflicted with her own police firearm.

Prosecutors say Ben Sebena acknowledged ambushing his wife while she conducted a pre-dawn patrol alone in Wauwatosa. The criminal complaint says he told investigators he was a jealous husband. However, police have declined to speculate on a motive.

Ben Sebena served two tours in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps. His attorney has not returned multiple messages seeking comment.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press
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UPDATED: Thursday, January 3, 2013 --- 10:00 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A decorated Iraq War veteran accused of fatally shooting his wife, a suburban Milwaukee police officer, has waived his preliminary hearing.

Thirty-year-old Benjamin G. Sebena is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 24 on a first-degree intentional homicide charge in the killing of 30-year-old Jennifer Sebena.

He was brought into court Thursday in a wheelchair and a suicide-prevention vest.

Sebena is accused of ambushing his wife while she patrolled alone in Wauwatosa in the predawn hours of Christmas Eve. Prosecutors say he shot her multiple times in the head, and that he told investigators he was jealous.

Ben Sebena said little during Thursday's hearing. Defense attorney Michael Steinle did not comment.

Sebena is being held on $1 million cash bail. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2005.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press
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UPDATED: Thursday, January 3, 2013 --- 9:25 a.m.

From WITI in Milwaukee:

WAUWATOSA — 30-year-old Benjamin Sebena, the man charged with first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon in the murder of his wife, Wauwatosa Police Officer Jennifer Sebena, waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday, January 3rd and is bound over for trial.

Benjamin Sebena will be due back in court January 24th at 8:30 a.m.

Benjamin Sebena made his initial court appearance on Thursday afternoon, December 27th. Bail was set for Sebena at $1 million.

Jennifer Sebena was found dead on Christmas Eve, December 24th. The criminal complaint in the case indicates Jennifer Sebena was shot multiple times in the face. Her body was found just outside the back door of the Wauwatosa Fire Department located at Underwood Avenue in Wauwatosa.

Benjamin Sebena later confessed to the crime to police, according to the criminal complaint. Sebena told officials he had been stalking his wife for several days. He said on December 24th, he waited for her in the area of Underwood Ave. and when she emerged from her break inside the fire department, he opened fire.

Benjamin Sebena faces life in prison if convicted.

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UPDATED Thursday, January 3, 2013 -- 7:50 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A decorated Iraq War veteran is due in court accused of fatally shooting his wife, a suburban Milwaukee police officer.

Thirty-year-old Benjamin G. Sebena is scheduled to attend a preliminary hearing Thursday morning to face a first-degree intentional homicide charge.

He's accused of ambushing 30-year-old Jennifer Sebena while she conducted a solo patrol in the predawn hours of Christmas Eve. Prosecutors say he shot her multiple times in the head, and that he told investigators he was a jealous husband.

Ben Sebena's defense attorney, Michael Steinle, has not returned messages seeking comment. Ben Sebena is being held on $1 million cash bail.

Jennifer Sebena was in her second year with the Wauwatosa police department.

Ben Sebena was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2005.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, December 27, 2012 --- 3:20 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Wisconsin husband accused of shooting and killing his police officer wife on Christmas Eve has been ordered held on $1 million cash bond.

Ben Gabriel Sebena, of Menomonee Falls, made his initial appearance Thursday. A Milwaukee County court commissioner imposed bail and set a preliminary hearing for next week.

A criminal complaint says 30-year-old Jennifer Sebena was found lying on the pavement outside the fire department. She'd been shot five times in the head.

The complaint says Jennifer Sebena told a colleague about three weeks earlier that her husband had put a gun to her head.

The complaint also quotes Ben Sebena as telling investigators he'd been jealous of other men with regard to his wife.

A message left with Ben Sebena's defense attorney was not immediately returned.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Thursday, December 27, 2012 --- 1:45 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The husband of a slain suburban Milwaukee police officer has been charged in her shooting death.

Ben Gabriel Sebena of Menomonee Falls was charged Thursday with first-degree intentional homicide, according to online court records. He's accused of killing 30-year-old Jennifer Sebena early on Christmas Eve.

It wasn't immediately clear whether he had an attorney.

Ben Sebena is a 30-year-old decorated U.S. Marine veteran who served two tours in Iraq. He was honorably discharged after he suffered severe arm and knee injuries in a 2005 mortar attack.

Officers found Jennifer Sebena's body early Monday after she failed to respond to radio calls during her solo patrol. She'd been shot several times.

She was a police officer for two years in Wauwatosa, a city of 46,000 people just west of Milwaukee.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press
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UPDATED: Thursday, December 27, 2012 --- 8:05 a.m.

From our news partner WITI in Milwaukee:

WAUWATOSA — The Wauwatosa Police Department and the Division of Criminal Investigation have confirmed that Benjamin Sebena, Jennifer Sebena’s husband, was arrested and book on a tentative charge of first-degree intentional homicide.

Authorities say Bejamin Sebena was booked Wednesday night, December 26th into the Milwaukee County Jail.

Jennifer Sebena was found dead near Underwood and Harmonee in downtown Wauwatosa early Monday morning, December 24th. Officials say Sebena died after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds.

Sebena, in her second year on the force, was patrolling alone overnight. When she didn’t respond to calls for service, her fellow officers searched for her.

Police have not said exactly where Sebena was located, but police tape and officers with weapons visible surrounded the area around the downtown Wauwatosa firehouse.

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UPDATED Wednesday, December 26, 2012 --- 9:25 p.m.

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (AP) -- A funeral has been scheduled for a Wauwatosa police officer shot to death on Christmas Eve.

Services for 30-year-old Officer Jennifer L. Sebena will be held Saturday at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield.

Visitation will be at the church from 9 a.m. to noon, with the service immediately following. Sebena will then be buried at Wisconsin Memorial park in Brookfield.

Sebena was shot early Monday while patrolling in suburban Milwaukee. Investigators are questioning a person of interest in her death.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, December 26, 2012 --- 4:39 p.m.

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (AP) -- The state Justice Department says investigators are questioning a person of interest in the shooting death of a police officer patrolling in suburban Milwaukee on Christmas Eve.

Wauwatosa police discovered their colleague, 30-year-old Jennifer L. Sebena, dead early Monday morning a couple hours after she failed to respond to radio calls. She'd suffered several gunshot wounds.

Police and state agents released a statement Wednesday saying they were working with a person of interest. The Justice Department released a statement later Wednesday saying investigators were questioning that person.

They say the public is in no immediate danger.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 --- 1:25 p.m.

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (AP) -- Investigators say they've found a person of interest in a police officer's unsolved death.

Police officers in Wauwatosa discovered their colleague, 30-year-old Jennifer L. Sebena, dead early Monday morning after she failed to respond to radio calls. She had suffered several gunshot wounds.

The Wauwatosa Police Department released a statement Wednesday saying state agents were working with a person of interest but were still pursuing multiple leads. The statement did not say the person was a suspect and didn't offer any other details beyond saying the public is in no immediate danger.

A state Justice Department spokeswoman declined comment.

The state said Sebena's funeral has been tentatively scheduled for Saturday.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press
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UPDATED: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 --- 12:25 p.m.

From our news partner, WITI in Milwaukee:

WAUWATOSA — Benjamin Sebena, the husband of slain Wauwatosa officer Jennifer Sebena, has been taken into custody following his wife’s death. According to FOX6′s media partners at the Wauwatosa Patch, Benjamin Sebena was transported to the West Allis Police Department.

According to the Patch, reports do not indicate if Benjamin Sebena is being held for the murder of Jennifer Sebena.

30-year-old Sebena was found dead near Underwood and Harmonee in downtown Wauwatosa early Monday morning, December 24th. Officials say Officer Sebena died after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds.

Sebena, in her second year on the force, was patrolling alone overnight. When she didn’t respond to calls for service, her fellow officers searched for her.

Police will not say exactly where Sebena was located, but police tape and officers with weapons visible surrounded the area around the downtown Wauwatosa firehouse.

Lt. Witkowski says Officer Sebena graduated from MATC’s Police Academcy and began working with the Wauwatosa Police Department. Lt. Witkowski says Officer Sebena was married and describes her as a great person and officer.
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UPDATED: Tuesday, December 25, 2012 -- 2:45 p.m.

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (AP) -- Wauwatosa police are asking for the public's help as they continue to investigate the shooting death of a fellow officer.

Police released a statement Tuesday saying they're pursuing multiple leads. They ask that anyone with information call the police department.

Officers began looking for 30-year-old Jennifer L. Sebena on Monday about 3 a.m. after she failed to respond to radio calls. They found their colleague two hours later, dead with several gunshot wounds.

The statement says the police department remains shaken by Sebena's loss. It says this is the first time in the department's 96-year history that an officer has fallen in the line of duty.

The state Justice Department is helping in the investigation.

Wauwatosa is a city of about 46,000 people just west of Milwaukee

Copyright Associated Press 2012
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UPDATED: Monday, December 24, 2012 --- 1:10 p.m.

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin authorities are looking into the death of a suburban Milwaukee police officer who was killed on duty.

Wauwatosa Lt. Gerald Witkowski says dispatchers unsuccessfully tried to reach 30-year-old Jennifer Lynn Sebena for a call about 3 a.m. Monday. He says officers started looking for her and found her dead with several gunshot wounds about 5 a.m. He didn't know if she inside or outside of her car.

Witkowski says the case is considered a homicide. Officers have no suspects.

Witkowski says Sebena enrolled in the police academy in January 2011 and began working solo in July. He says she was married and described her as a great person and officer.

Police are urging witnesses to come forward.

The state Justice Department's criminal investigation unit is helping in the investigation.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press
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POSTED: Monday, December 24, 2012 --- 9:05 a.m.

BC-WI--Wauwatosa Officer Death,130

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (AP) -- Law enforcement officials in southern Wisconsin are investigating the death of a suburban Milwaukee police officer.

Wauwatosa Lt. Gerald Witkowski says the officer does not appear to have died from natural causes.

He says a dispatcher tried to reach the patrol officer around 3 a.m. Monday but was unsuccessful. He says the officer was found dead around 5 a.m.

He didn't know if they were searching for a suspect, but he did say residents' safety risk appears to be low.

The state department of justice's criminal investigation unit is investigating.

Witkowski described the situation as fluid. He says the death is "not a believable thing" and the department has "a lot of heavy hearts."

He says officials were in the process of notifying family and other department members Monday morning.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press


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