Christmas Eve marks one year since Jennifer Sebena's murder

WAUWATOSA (WITI) -- Christmas Eve marks the one-year anniversary of the murder of Wauwatosa Police Officer Jennifer Sebena. Sebena's husband, Benjamin Sebena has been sentenced to life in prison in the case -- and will be eligible for parole in 35 years.

Benjamin Sebena pleaded guilty to killing his wife during the early morning hours of Christmas Eve, 2012.

On the one-year anniversary of her death, those who knew Jennifer Sebena are trying not to focus on the tragedy.

"She was really great person. She was really kind and would basically do anything for anyone and go out of her way to help somebody," Jennifer Sebena's close friend Becky Abbott said.

Abbott says Jennifer Sebena was a childhood friend -- and says this Christmas Eve has been hard.

"I just started thinking about last year -- just hearing the news and feeling really sad," Abbott said.

Jennifer Sebena was gunned down outside a Wauwatosa Fire Station.

Abbott says on this sad anniversary, she is channeling her pain into positivity.

"Everybody is just trying to move past and make it through the holiday and make a difference in the community -- to show how she made a difference and really carry on her legacy," Abbott said.

Jennifer Sebena's caring personality was remembered this past weekend, as teens she mentored held a bake sale in her honor, to benefit the Child Protection Center.

"It's one of those things that helps you heal from the bad things. This is a bright spot. Christmas Eve is going to be a hard time for our people and we're going to get together as a group and department privately and share some stories and just be together," Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber said.

To honor Jennifer Sebena, thousands of people are shining blue lights to remember her.

"Close to 1,500 people across the United States are participating and decorating their houses and putting up blue lights for her. I think (Christmas Eve) is really hard for everybody who knew her. I think that everybody can really show support by turning on light on or take a minute to remember her and  show her family we really do care about them," Abbott said.

In addition to the blue lights, Jennifer Sebena was remembered in many ways throughout the year.

Jennifer Sebena's name was this year added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.