Phillip Seidle, a Neptune Township, NJ Police Department sergeant, pled guilty to aggravated manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child on March 10, for chasing down and shooting dead his ex-wife, Tamara Wilson-Seidle, while their 7-year-old child watched.
Seidle was initially charged with first degree murder, as well as other lesser charges, but the plea deal was worked out to avoid any of the Seidle’s nine children from having to testify. “To avoid further trauma to our family we have thoughtfully accepted this guilty plea,” said their eldest, Kirsten Seidle, 25.
Seidle has yet to be sentenced, but he faces up to 30 years in prison. Only upon sentencing will he no longer be officially employed by the Neptune Township Police Department.
On June 16, 2015, Seidle was driving with the 7-year-old to buy a dress for her to wear to a daddy-daughter dance, and drove past the house he and Wilson-Seidle had owned together before their divorce, and which Wilson-Seidle then owned and resided at. Seidle spotted her new partner’s car in the driveway, and drove to Wilson-Seidle’s workplace.
Wilson-Seidle sped out of the parking lot, and Seidle gave chase. He rammed her car off the road, got out, and fired through the window, killing Wilson-Seidle.
After the shooting, Seidle texted his children “your mother is dead because of her actions” and a friend “I got tired of Tamara’s shit and shot her.”
An approximately thirty minute standoff ensued, during which Seidle yelled about custody, held the gun to his head, and shot a second volley into Wilson-Seidle’s car. The Asbury Park Police, who recognized him as a colleague, spent the time negotiating his surrender. After taking him into custody, officers hugged him.
Wilson described his reason for doing all this in court:
She had condemned me to my children for three and a half years for being with someone else, and then, I never even introduced my kids to my lady. And now she moves this guy in and replaces me with him, and makes him their father. You know, she commits adultery.
Seidle dated two others while married, and moved in with the second after he and Wilson-Seidle separated.
The children are suing the Neptune Police Department for employing and providing Seidle with a gun, despite a documented history of violence towards Wilson-Seidle, with more than a dozen incidents documented in police reports. They are also suing other Monmouth County agencies for other failures in handling Seidle and the shooting.
“Did it create an atmosphere where this shooting could occur? There’s a lot of issues with respect to proper discipline and how something like this can happen,” said Shelley Stangler, their lawyer, to the Asbury Park Press.
According to studies reported by the National Center for Women & Policing, “at least 40% of police officer families experience domestic violence.” (Emphasis in original.)