Crime and Court Roundup: Husband accused of shooting his police officer wife back in court ThursdayWisconsin News
-- An Iraq War veteran is due back in court today, on a charge that he killed his wife while she was on duty Christmas Eve as a Wauwatosa police officer.
An Iraq War veteran is due back in court today, on a charge that he killed his wife while she was on duty Christmas Eve as a Wauwatosa police officer. 30-year-old Ben Sabena of Menomonee Falls has a preliminary hearing set for 8:30 this morning in Milwaukee County. A judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to put him on trial for first-degree intentional homicide. Prosecutors said Sabena ambushed his 30-year-old wife Jennifer, as she left a break room at the downtown Wauwatosa fire station. Authorities said she was shot five times in the head by both Ben’s weapon and her police revolver. The man reportedly told investigators that he was a jealous husband – but police have not either determined or revealed a motive for the slaying. Ben Sabena is currently jailed under a million-dollar bond. He served two tours of duty in Iraq, and he was honorably discharged from the Marines in 2005. Jennifer Sabena had almost completed her second year with the Wauwatosa police force when she was killed.
Bond was set at a million dollars yesterday for a Dane County man charged with killing his autistic half-brother. 28-year-old Jeffrey Vogelsberg made his initial court appearance on charges of first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse. His next appearance is set for next Thursday, when a judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to order a trial. Authorities said Vogelsberg beat 27-year-old Matthew Graville to death last June 30th at a rented house they shared in Mazomanie. Graville’s body was found buried in a wooded area near Lone Rock several months later. He had Asperger’s syndrome, an autistic-related disorder. Vogelsberg was arrested at a military base in Washington state, where his wife works. He fought extradition, and Washington’s governor had to sign an order to ship him back to Wisconsin to face his charges.
A Wausau woman accused of poisoning and stabbing her ex-boyfriend’s dog will stay in jail for now. Marathon County Circuit Judge Greg Grau said no yesterday to letting 20-year-old Sean Janas go free on a signature bond. Grau said he saw no justification to change the woman’s current bond, which is 25-hundred dollars. Animal welfare advocates from both in-and-out of Wisconsin have taken notice of the case – and many show up to support the dog every time Janas appears in court. She’s charged with poisoning and mistreating an animal, and obstructing police. Prosecutors said she forced her ex-boyfriend’s Shepherd-Labrador mix to drink bleach to slowly poison the dog, and then stabbed her several times. Officials said Janas also kept a diary in which she described how she liked watching the pet suffer. Her next scheduled court appearance is a pre-trial hearing on March sixth. A two-day trial is set for May first-and-second.
A Hartford man is accused of bilking two charitable groups out of 13-thousand-dollars. Prosecutors said 45-year-old Anthony Langlois deceived almost 650 donors into giving to what they thought was the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Briggs-and-Stratton Run-and-Walk for Milwaukee Children’s Hospital. Authorities said Langlois altered donation forms from the two groups – and there’s no record that he gave them any money. Langlois is charged in Washington County with two felony counts of identity theft and four misdemeanor charges of theft-by-fraud. He appeared in court yesterday, and a 15-hundred-dollar cash bond was set. He waived a time limit for a preliminary hearing, and he’s due back in court January 30th.
A former middle school math teacher in Eagle River will spend three years in prison for possessing child pornography, and having sex-related chats with young girls. 47-year-old Michael Wang of Florence was sentenced yesterday. Vilas County Circuit Judge Neal Nielsen told Wang to spend five years under extended supervision when he leaves prison – pay a five-thousand-dollar surcharge – and register with the state as a sex offender. School officials checked Wang’s work computer and flash drives, and they later found over 100 pornographic images of kids as young as four. But special prosecutor David Maas said he was more concerned about online chats Wang was having with girls 14-and-younger. He said it was evidence that Wang was grooming them. Judge Nielsen said Wang had apologized to children in general, and not the specific youngsters he hurt – and that played a role in the sentence he handed out. Wang had taught in the Northland Pines school system for two decades.