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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.

jennnifer January 24, 2013 at 04:46 PM
This is sad.
Uncle D January 24, 2013 at 05:11 PM
It is sad and is anyone surprised? My guess is that the defense will be 'Posttraumatic Stress Disorder'! I grieve for Jennifer Sebena and all those victims that have been explained away as a victim of PSD. Is PSD something made up by and for attorneys or is it legitamate enough that a person suffering from it can take another life in the manner that Ben Sebena took Jennifer's? God Bless you Jennifer Sebena!!!
KAY KRISTIN January 24, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Certainly no surprise here...whether or not he does the PSD defense, he needs to go away for the rest of his life - either prison or a maximum security hospital. either way. Doesn't matter to me. But he should never see the light of day again.
jennnifer January 24, 2013 at 05:46 PM
Agreed he should and needs to be punished. I don't care what was in his head at the time. No value for human life deserves a life sentence! (Wish we had the death penalty)
Realtycheck January 24, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Harsher & stronger punishment for all criminals at large. They should lock the door & throw away the key. He has lost his rights to any and everything and should only be given the bare minimums in prison to get by.
Angie January 24, 2013 at 07:56 PM
Dum dum duuuuummmm! Y he would confess like they say, then plead Not Guilty?
carpediem January 24, 2013 at 10:34 PM
Primitive judgments again by self-appointed.experts, presumably in all areas of the human existence.
carpediem January 24, 2013 at 10:37 PM
When vets come back all disturbed, committing suicide, is that ok with all you folks? Them you stop honoring them right?! There wounds are not yours although they supposedly kept your star safe! Think of that!
Keli Lawler January 24, 2013 at 11:54 PM
He won't get off no matter what his defense is. What an insecure loser. My ex-husband held a gun to my head years ago and fought with me to get my fingers on the trigger so it would look like I shot myself. This was all because of his insane jealousy and unwarranted mistrust of me. The guy actually drove me away with his insane insecurity and jealousy. Thankfully after some stalking by him during my divorce I met the most wonderful man who I've been married to now for almost 20 years. Jennifer's death is so sad and I pray her so called husband spends the rest of his life in prison. To bad Wisconsin doesn't have the death penalty. I take that back. Death for him would be the easy way out. Let him rot in prison for the rest of his miserable life..
Born Free January 25, 2013 at 01:29 AM
It's okay to experience SOME sane level of jealousy as an emotion now and then (rarely) as it does have a purpose but the idea is not to get irrational or delusional nor does it imply acting on it to 'get even'. Way too much of that 'get even' crap is going on today like never before. It's turning into an addiction. Getting even is 2nd nature and all a person needs is to find a reason to or self manufacture a reason and before you know it it's all over except for the tears. The only way getting even ends is if the getter quits or gives up the ghost. Sadly she probably had a false sense of security even knowing how he was, after all she was a cop, she had an entire police department behind her that he was aware of and he wasn't just some yoo yoo out on the street she'd by chance run into.
carpediem January 25, 2013 at 02:42 AM
Getting even? Death penalty? Have you guys ever been to church?
jbw January 25, 2013 at 03:25 AM
That's true, they practically invented that whole "eye for an eye" thing. Ah, the good old days of the scripture - when slavery was common and even minor criminal offenses often meant quick execution. That artwork and statuary in the church showing the Romans and the guy with the cross - that wouldn't have anything to do with revenge or the death penalty, would it?
Realtycheck January 25, 2013 at 03:28 AM
Have you ever read the old testament, destruction, war, death. Come on. This sebena character had self worth issues prior to even enlisting in the military. The events that occurred in the military only exacerbated his problems. Furthermore, th sheepdog doesn't attack the sheep, that is wrong. Don't let emotion become involved.
Michael January 25, 2013 at 07:46 PM
I agree this guy should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. He should rot in prison for the rest of his life. The government needs to re-examine the use of their soldiers. PTSD does not excuse him for his crime. However, if our men and women were not being deployed to war zones, 12-18 months at a time, for 4 or 5 tours of duty in some cases, we would not nearly as many extreme cases of PTSD. I'm not saying this dude suffered from that, I guess I'm starting a whole new topic. If every soldier was limited to a reasonable amount of time at war, I believe they wouldn't be so messed up mentally.
Nancy Hall January 26, 2013 at 03:50 AM
If you want to grieve for someone, then grieve for people like Jennifer and Benjamin Sebena whose lives have been changed forever by PTSD. It has been recognized for centuries, using labels like "shell shock" and "battle fatigue." I understand it was called "soldier's heart" during the Civil War. It's manageable, but someone suffering from PTSD does need to see a specialist. Prayer is not enough. If Sebena had gotten effective treatment, perhaps this tragedy could have been averted. I doubt that NGRI due to the effects of PTSD will be an effective defense. His attorney would need to prove that he didn't understand that what he was doing was wrong and that there would be consequences for his actions. It doesn't sound like either would apply. Maybe they're hoping for a reduced sentence, but I can't see that happening, either...not for the murder of an on-duty police officer.
gg January 27, 2013 at 12:37 AM
None of you have walked a mile in his shoes. I know Wisconsin to be judgemental and punishing, Wis. has three times more prisoners than Minnesota, but geez wait'll this plays out.
Randy1949 January 27, 2013 at 01:24 AM
He might get a 'guilty but insane' verdict, in which case he gets to spend the rest of his life in an institution for the criminally insane rather than a prison.
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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