After initially telling police he was at home at the time his wife was murdered, Benjamin Sebena ultimately admitted he had stalked her for several days before killing her on Christmas Eve, court documents show.
Sebena was charged Thursday with first-degree intentional homicide in the shooting death of his wife, Wauwatosa police officer Jennifer Sebena, while she was on duty.
Benjamin Sebena became a suspect almost immediately, and his plot to kill his wife unraveled quickly, according to the details of police reports distilled into the criminal complaint charging him with her murder.
He left shell casings at the scene, including one from a rare type of 9mm ammunition fired by only a few models of handguns — and more ammunition of that type was found in his home the same day.
According to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s report, Jennifer Sebena was shot twice in the head from behind with the 9mm weapon and three times in the face with a .40-caliber weapon. Three .40-cal. shell casings were also found in the parking lot, and they were consistent with the type used by Wauwatosa police service weapons. Jennifer Sebena’s weapon was missing from the scene.
Police: Husband never asked how wife died
Benjamin Sebena called police within two hours after she was found dead at about 4:30 a.m. “to check on his wife’s well-being,” the complaint says, but when told she had been involved “in an accident,” he didn’t ask what had happened to her.
Sebena agreed to come to the Wauwatosa police station, arriving just before 7 a.m., where he was told that his wife had been killed. He never asked how she died. He drove a black Prius to the police station that morning — and a black Prius was seen in a number of video scenes recorded between Wauwatosa Village and the Sebenas’ Menomonee Falls home that morning.
Benjamin Sebena at first told police that he had been at home from 10 p.m. Dec. 23 until he was asked to come to the Wauwatosa police station at 6:30 a.m. Dec. 24 — about two hours after she was killed at Wauwatosa Fire Station 1.
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However, on Wednesday he admitted to police that he had been stalking his wife for days, and that he waited in hiding for several hours near the fire station for her to arrive to take a break at the station, the complaint said.
He told police he began to shoot her after she walked out of the station, and thought he saw her reach for her firearm. He said he took the gun from her holster and shot her in the face three or four times, the complaint said.
"Benjamin Sebena stated that he wanted to make sure she was dead, so she wouldn’t suffer," according to the complaint.
Story of domestic violence unearthed
The complaint also said that on Dec. 6, Jennifer Sebena told another Wauwatosa police officer that she had been a victim of domestic violence and that Benjamin Sebena had put a gun to her head.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber said he was unaware that Jennifer Sebena told another officer about such a threat, and that the first he and supervisors knew of it was when it came out during the investigation.
The criminal complaint did not indicate what the motive was in the shooting; however, in his initial interview with police on Monday, Benjamin Sebena "stated that he had been jealous of other men with regards to his wife."
According to the complaint:
Jennifer Sebena was summoned by a dispatcher while on duty at 4:24 a.m. Monday. When she didn't respond to that call, another police officer used her squad's GPS system to locate her at the fire station at 1601 Underwood Ave., finding the car within minutes. Her body was found on the pavement just outside the station, where police officers often take breaks while on duty.
In an initial interview with police, Sebena said he tended to keep the same late-shift hours she did. After she had gone to work at 5:15 p.m. Sunday for what would be an overtime shift, he remained at home, he said, going out only to buy a video game at a local Best Buy store. He said he returned from the store around 10 p.m. and was home all night.
Wauwatosa police detectives were monitoring Sebena while he sat in an empty room at the police station Monday morning, and a detective heard Sebena say to himself something to the effect that “she” had been helping him — and, "How could I do that to her?"
The couple's home was searched Monday, and officers found a box of rare 9 X 18mm Makarov ammunition, the same type as one casing found at the fire station. Police also found that a shower hair trap and shower curtain had been removed. They found “dark clothing” and two fist-sized, blood-spattered holes through drywall in the home.
On Tuesday, detectives reviewed Wisconsin Department of Transportation traffic camera video located at the intersection of Highway 100 and W. Burleigh Street and observed what appeared to be a black Toyota Prius with darkened/black tire rims traveling west on Burleigh Street about 3:45 a.m. Monday. That's the same type of vehicle that Benjamin Sebena had been driving.
After further questioning, the Sebena home was searched again on Wednesday. This time, police found Jennifer Sebena's service pistol and another handgun hidden in the basement ceiling. The second gun, a KBI model PA-63, fires only 9 X 18mm bullets of the Makarov type.