A police sergeant from Neptune, New Jersey, with 22 years of service, pleaded guilty March 10 to charges of aggravated manslaughter and child endangerment in the shooting to death of his ex-wife in 2015.
Philip Seidle, 51, shot Tamara Seidle on June 16, 2015, after pursuing her in his SUV and ramming her vehicle off the road, according to media reports.
Seidle’s 7-year-old daughter was in the car with him at the time he launched the attack.
After firing his weapon while Tamara was stuck in her vehicle, the former cop sent a text message to his nine children.
“Your mother is dead because of her actions,” it read, according to WCBS.
Prosecutors agreed to a plea deal that dropped the charge of murder and the prospect that Seidle could receive a life sentence. This was requested by the Seidle family’s oldest child, Kirsten.
“To avoid further trauma to our family, we have thoughtfully accepted this guilty plea,” Kirsten said in a statement. “My family and I will not be answering any questions.”
“It would have been a terrible thing for us to take those children ... and put them in the untenable position ... of having them testify against their father about killing their mother,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni added, according to NJ.com.
Philip attacked Tamara while he was taking his youngest daughter dress shopping for a dance later that night. The couple’s divorce had been confirmed just three weeks earlier.
In court, Philip blamed Tamara for the incident.
“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," he told the court, reports WCBS. "And now she moves this guy in and replaces me with him, and makes him their father. You know, she commits adultery.”
Gramiccioni vowed to challenge Philip’s comments at sentencing.
“This is, hands down, one of the ugliest cases we’ve seen,” Gramiccioni added.
The nine Seidle children have also filed a lawsuit against several law enforcement agencies.
A separate investigation was launched into the police response to the attack. Philip was able to fire another round of shots at his ex-wife after his daughter was rescued from his car by officers. One question posed was whether officers gave Philip favorable treatment by not firing their weapons at him to stop the second round of shots.
A sentencing hearing for Philip Seidle will take place in August.