MILWAUKEE (AP) — An Iraq War veteran charged with ambushing his wife Christmas Eve as she worked as a Milwaukee-area police officer told investigators he shot her in the head repeatedly because he didn't want her to suffer before she died.
Benjamin Gabriel Sebena, 30, acknowledged to detectives that he was a jealous husband, police said. Still, they declined to speculate on a motive for the killing, saying Thursday their probe was ongoing.
Investigators said Ben Sebena told them he had been stalking his wife, Jennifer Sebena, for a few days. He said he waited a few hours near the fire department where officers often take breaks, and when he saw her squad car he rushed her and opened fire. They said when the officer reached for her weapon, her husband grabbed it from her holster and used it to shoot her three or four times in the face.
"Benjamin Sebena stated that he wanted to make sure she was dead so she wouldn't suffer," the criminal complaint said.
He was charged Thursday with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Jennifer Sebena, who was also 30. During a brief court appearance, Ben Sebena was ordered held on $1 million cash bond. He wasn't required to enter a plea, and his attorney, Michael Steinle, didn't immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.
Two hours after Jennifer Sebena was found dead, police monitored her husband on closed-circuit TV as he stood in an empty room at the police station. A detective heard Ben Sebena ask himself "How could I do that to her," after all the help she gave him, the criminal complaint said.
Officers went to check on Jennifer Sebena about 4:30 a.m. Monday after she didn't respond to radio calls. Sebena, who joined the Wauwatosa police force two years ago, was patrolling alone on the night she was killed.
"She was everything I could hope for in a young police officer: intelligent, energetic, willing to be of service and wanting to be a great police officer," Wauwatosa Chief Barry Weber said at a news conference.
Investigators said they found a number of details tying Ben Sebena to the killing. Surveillance video showed a vehicle that matches his in the area near the time of the shooting, and detectives who searched the couple's home found a gun in the attic that fires ammunition matching the bullet casings found at the scene. They also found Jennifer Sebena's service weapon hidden in the attic.
The investigation began when Ben Sebena called police Monday about 6:30 a.m. asking them to check on his wife's well-being. A police sergeant called him back five minutes later telling him to come to the station because his wife had been involved in an incident.
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