Benjamin Sebena Pleads Not Guilty in Wife's Murder

Case of the killing of Wauwatosa Police Officer Jennifer Sebena will go to trial.

Benjamin Sebena pleaded not guilty Thursday morning to the Christmas Eve murder of his wife, Wauwatosa Police Officer Jennifer Sebena.

At his arraignment before Judge David Borowski, Benjamin Sebena again appeared strapped in a wheelchair and wearing a security vest, as he has in every appearance since his arrest and charging. He did not speak; his attorney, Michael Steinle, entered the plea on his behalf.

In the very brief proceeding, Steinle made no mention at this stage of a possible defense of not guilty by reason of insanity or mental defect.

The not guilty plea means the case will go to trial, with further proceedings to set a trial date scheduled for March 1.

The charge against Benjamin Sebena, first-degree intentional homicide by use of a dangerous weapon, carries a maximum penalty of life in prison without possibility of parole.

Jennifer Sebena was found dead just outside Wauwatosa Fire Station No. 1 in the Village, shot five times in the head. She had been on the police force for two years, from the top of her class at the MATC Police Academy. She had gone on solo patrol in July and had been assigned to the night shift only about a month before her death.

Benjamin Sebena quickly became a suspect and, after questioning, admitted in a statement to police that he had murdered his wife, the criminal complaint against him said.

The two guns presumed used to kill Jennifer were found hidden in the ceiling of the couple's basement in their Menomonee Falls home. One was her service weapon, the other a type that uses very rare ammunition. A shell casing of that type was found at the crime scene.

According to the criminal complaint, Sebena told police he stalked Jennifer for several days before the crime and waited hours on Christmas Eve to ambush her. His motive, he said, was jealousy.

Wauwatosa police officers assigned to the night shift in the Village squad area frequently use the fire station as an auxiliary police station, taking breaks and filing reports there.

Benjamin Sebena, a wounded Marine veteran of the Iraq War, told investigators that when Jennifer came out of the fire station's north door, he stepped up behind her and fired two shots to the back of her head. The medical examiner's report shows that either one of those shots alone would have been instantly incapacitating and almost certainly fatal.

Nevertheless, Sebena grabbed his wife's service weapon and shot her three more times in the face. Sebena told police he fired those shots because he did not want his wife to suffer.

The last contact police dispatchers had with Officer Jen Sebena was at 3:29 a.m. They attempted to contact her again at about 4:30, and when she failed to respond, a search located her body just minutes later.

A car matching Benjamin Sebena's black 2012 Toyota Prius, including its black wheel rims, was seen on DOT and private business video about 3:45 a.m., traveling toward Menomonee Falls.

Sebena called the Wauwatosa Police Department at 6:35 a.m. to ask if Jennifer was all right, saying he had heard there had been an incident involving an officer. He was told Jennifer had been in an accident and that he should come to the station as soon as possible. Sebena did not ask what had happened to his wife.

At the station, when told Jennifer had been killed, a detective sergeant said, Sebena did not ask how she had died.

Sebena was questioned at length on Christmas Eve and taken into custody Christmas Day.

Officer Jennifer Sebena was buried with full honors after a memorial service attended by hundreds of law enforcement officers from across Wisconsin and even from other states.

She was the first officer to be killed in the line of duty in the 96-year history of the Wauwatosa Police Department.

Toni Araiza January 27, 2013 at 07:35 AM
Imagine the post trauma Officer Sebena must've been internalizing day in and day out. Having to role play in the presence of many that admired their essence of having it together mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually. Not having walked the path she had paved doesn't justify being insensitive, but let's allow ourselves the humility to become more aware that domestic violence occurs daily and it's not always physical. Our victim, Jennfer Lynn Sebena had all ready been robbed of her empowerment, self worth and there's no need to continue re-traumatizing this tragic event. Officer Sebena's gone and our responsibility is to discontinue looking the other way and STAND UP & PROTECT ourselves and others from adding to the tragedy of Domestic Violence statistics.
Toni Araiza January 27, 2013 at 07:21 PM
I whole heartedly agree with you Randy; Benjamin Sebena as with all perpetrators, deserve compassion. We're not able to imagine what psychological torture his psyche was plagued with. Unfortunately in this case, he decided on terminating his strongest supporter of her existence permanently.
Spec War February 12, 2013 at 07:41 PM
I knew Ben before I joined the military and warned me of the horrors he saw and what i would see. I am part of the spec war community and enough said there. Ben Sebena is a war hero who served his country with honor and saw more shit with his two eyes then anyone of you could ever imagine in your nightmares. Ive been in war I've experienced what he has. It's no joke, the shit it does to your mind. It plays games with you and makes you feel like your back down range in the shit and all you got is you instincts and training. Benjamin Sebena served this country you all take for granted. Its people like him that give you people the right to even comments what your opinion is. Show some f***ing respect you arrogant f***s. I dont agree with what he did at all but it pisses me off that what he did for this country probaly wont be taken into effect for the motive of his crimes he has comitted. All i say is how can you judge someone when you never knew him and never experienced what he went through. Wow way to repersent America people, proud to serve you and protect seeing the ways you countlessly look at us.
Jack February 12, 2013 at 07:46 PM
All of that is true but he doesn't get a free pass for blowing the head off of his wife. Serving your country is not a trump card for future crimes.
Randy1949 February 12, 2013 at 07:57 PM
He won't get a 'free pass'. He will be in some kind of custodial care for a very long time. If anything, people who are adjudged mentally ill spend more time in captivity than those who 'pay their debt to society' and are released.


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