Husband charged in Wis. officer's death in court
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A doctor's findings released Friday do not support an insanity plea from an Iraq War veteran accused of killing his wife while she was on duty as a suburban Milwaukee police officer.
Benjamin G. Sebena, 30, has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect in the shooting death of Jennifer Sebena, also 30, on Christmas Eve in Wauwatosa. He's charged with first-degree intentional homicide.
The psychiatrist's report was discussed during a hearing Friday, when Sebena was brought into court in a wheelchair and wearing a padded blue suicide-prevention vest. Prosecutors say Sebena acknowledged ambushing his wife and told investigators he was a jealous husband.
The state-appointed doctor did not believe to a reasonable degree that Sebena suffered from a mental disease or defect and could appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions, according to the report discussed at a hearing Friday.
Sebeba's attorney, Michael Steinle, said his own doctor has examined Sebena and that report is nearly finished and was expected to be reviewed at a June 21 hearing.
Attorneys also discussed Friday a motion by the defense to throw out Sebena's statements to police in the hours and days after his wife's death. His defense attorney argued questioning by detectives before he was officially arrested violated his constitutional rights.
In the motion, Steinle claimed detectives should have read Sebena his Miranda rights shortly after he arrived at police station around 6:30 a.m. Dec. 24. Prosecutors said that Sebena made the statement, "How could I do that to her?" at one point before he was read the rights. The motion argues any evidence found before a Miranda right was read should not be applicable, including any "fruits of that statement." That would likely entail evidence found during the search of his house and his alleged confession.
Wauwatosa police Detective David Hoppe testified Friday he questioned Sebena that morning but he didn't consider him a suspect until later in day, well after Sebena had given them permission to search his home. He said he talked to him about his service in Iraq and his house and other things, trying to determine who might have killed Jennifer Sebena.
He testified he didn't realize exactly what a crying Sebena was saying early on in the interview when he reportedly said, "She was helping me. She was always helping me. How could I do that?"
Hoppe testified someone reviewing a live video recording of their conversation told him later.
He also said the door was unlocked and Sebena could have left at any point before he was officially arrested at around 3 p.m. and read his Miranda rights.
The judge said he would issue a ruling on the matter at the June 21 hearing. Steinle left the Friday hearing without speaking to reporters.
Sebena's trial is scheduled to start in July 8.