Aaron Schaffhausen Murdered Daughters Amara, Sophie & Cecil/Schaffhausen pleads guilty to murders, jury will decide if he was sane/Jury: Guilty BUT SANE of 3 counts 1st degree murder/7.16.13 Judge orders three life sentences to be served consecutively

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Normal Attorneys argue whether threats, curses are relevant in Schaffhausen murder case

Post by raine1953 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:42 pm

Evidence showing Aaron Schaffhausen's anger in the months leading up to his three daughters' deaths should be allowed at his murder trial because it speaks to his mindset, prosecutors argued in court papers filed late Friday.
Schaffhausen is accused of killing his three daughters in the girls’ River Falls home in July. He entered an insanity plea in the case last month.
Defense attorneys filed court papers trying to exclude testimony or evidence about Schaffhausen yelling and cursing at the mother of his ex-wife, Jessica Schaffhausen, last February and March, as well as alleged threats he made to a man at various times.

Defense attorneys argued in court papers that such acts weren’t near enough in time, place, or circumstance to be relevant to the alleged crime and could prejudice a jury.

Prosecutors responded in filings late Friday that Schaffhausen’s yelling and cursing at his former mother-in-law “is evidence of the defendant’s extreme anger at Jessica Schaffhausen ... in the period not long before the crimes occurred” and shows intent and motive to commit the crimes. “These crimes were committed to extract revenge against his ex-wife, in the defendant’s own words (to other witnesses), ‘to make her suffer,’” prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors also argue that threatening statements made toward another man “proves the defendant was angry and jealous, so much so that he was willing and intending to kill not just Jessica Schaffhausen, but a man the defendant felt was interfering with his ability to have her for himself.” The threats were made repeatedly to many people over an extended time, prosecutors wrote, arguing that they show his motive was revenge and to make people suffer for what he thought were insults and wrongdoings.

The evidence tends to rebut the defense of mental disease or defect, prosecutors argue.

Schaffhausen, 35, is facing three counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of Amara, 11, Sophie, 8 and Cecilia, 5. He is scheduled to appear in court for a hearing on Friday. The trial is scheduled to begin April 1.
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Post by Wrapitup on Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:57 pm

They Should be relevant..this was his mindset.

Thanks, Raine, for keeping up on this case and all the others you posted. you rock

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Normal Re: Aaron Schaffhausen Murdered Daughters Amara, Sophie & Cecil/Schaffhausen pleads guilty to murders, jury will decide if he was sane/Jury: Guilty BUT SANE of 3 counts 1st degree murder/7.16.13 Judge orders three life sentences to be served consecutively

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:01 am

Sure looks like it!!! :cheering: :cheering: flowerpower

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Normal Re: Aaron Schaffhausen Murdered Daughters Amara, Sophie & Cecil/Schaffhausen pleads guilty to murders, jury will decide if he was sane/Jury: Guilty BUT SANE of 3 counts 1st degree murder/7.16.13 Judge orders three life sentences to be served consecutively

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:03 am

Published February 28, 2013, 08:32 AM

Large jury pool set for Schaffhausen trial

The largest group of potential jurors will be in the pool for the Aaron Schaffhausen trial. Schaffhausen, accused of killing his three young daughters in their River Falls home last July, is scheduled to stand trial for three weeks beginning April 1.
By: Jon Echternacht, Hudson Star-Observer

The largest group of potential jurors will be in the pool for the Aaron Schaffhausen trial.

Schaffhausen, accused of killing his three young daughters in their River Falls home last July, is scheduled to stand trial for three weeks beginning April 1.

St. Croix County Clerk of Court Lori Meyer was in the process of firming up the group of potential jurors early this week. Some 200 questionnaires have been sent out to county residents and most were returned last week, the largest number ever for a St. Croix County trial, she said.

“About 40 have indicated in advance they have conflicts,” said Meyer. About a dozen hadn’t returned the questionnaire by Monday morning and she was attempting to get in touch with them.

The jury pool will ultimately be whittled down to 15, including 12 regulars and three alternates.

Finding a venue where 150 or more persons could be corralled while jury selection is underway poses a problem.

“The fire marshal has ruled the limit for seating people in the County Board Room is 100. The largest courtroom (No. 3) is limited to 76,” Meyer said.

High school gyms have been ruled out because school is in session. Church basements are an option only as a last resort, she said. Facilities on the UW-River Falls campus are in Pierce County and create a logistical problem.

Meyer said either way bus transportation will be used to bring members of the pool to and from the government center where their cars will be parked during the two-day selection process.

In the meantime, proceedings in the case continue through a mountain of motions.

Judge Howard Cameron has already banned cameras from the jury selection process. He is expected to rule on cameras in the courtroom during the trial Friday, March 1, the next scheduled motion hearing.

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Post by Wrapitup on Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:18 am


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Normal Prosecutor: Schaffhausen threatened ex-wife before River Falls girls' deaths

Post by Wrapitup on Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:01 am

Article by: PAM LOUWAGIE , Star Tribune Updated: March 2, 2013 - 9:10 AM

Attorneys in the Schaffhausen triple homicide case argued over what domestic friction would be heard at trial.

HUDSON, WIS. – The man accused of killing his three daughters in their River Falls home had threatened his ex-wife and another man and yelled at his former mother-in-law in the months before the girls died in July, prosecutors alleged in court Friday.

Attorneys debated just how much evidence of such threats and the couple’s troubled marriage and messy divorce jurors should be allowed to hear at trial, set to begin April 1.

Aaron Schaffhausen, 35, faces three counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia. He entered an insanity plea in January.

Defense attorneys argued that alleged threats — including a phone call and Facebook postings to another man — should be excluded from trial, as well as evidence of him shouting at his former mother-in-law because they occurred months before the crime and were irrelevant.

Prosecutor Gary Freyberg disagreed, saying Schaffhausen believed the man was stealing his family and his threats spoke to the extent, duration and intensity of Schaffhausen’s anger at Jessica Schaffhausen, and “why he would want to ... ‘make her suffer,’ in his words.”

Freyberg also argued that evidence starting in 2011, the year their divorce petition was filed, will show Aaron Schaffhausen’s growing rage.

“The defendant made a number of statements to her about his intention to do exactly what he ended up doing. ... He made a number of statements to her about his jealousy, his anger, his rage, his bitterness, his possessiveness,” Freyberg said. But, he argued, evidence of prior arguments during the couple’s marriage would waste the jury’s time.

“It appears that the defendant is going to want to somehow blame Jessica Schaffhausen for this,” Freyberg said. “I don’t think that’s appropriate. It’s not relevant, and it’s not true.”

Defense attorney John Kucinski argued that if prosecutors are allowed to show Schaffhausen was jealous and possessive, then jurors should also hear about what led up to that on his ex-wife’s part.

Schaffhausen yelling at his former mother-in-law “has nothing to do with any intent or motive to kill three children four months later,” said defense attorney Donna Burger.

Judge Howard Cameron said he will allow evidence of threats made to the man and yelling at Schaffhausen’s former mother-in-law, but he reserved judgment on evidence of the couple’s troubled marriage before 2011.

Cameron also ruled that cameras will be allowed in the courtroom for the trial, which is expected to include more than 100 witnesses and take at least three weeks. His insanity plea sets up a two-phase trial. If found guilty of the crimes in the first phase, a second phase would determine whether he is mentally responsible.

The court has reserved space for jury selection at a Hudson golf club with a room big enough to handle the jury pool. Cameron said notices were sent to 200 potential jurors and 33 have been excused so far.

Freyberg said he expects Jessica Schaffhausen to attend the trial only to testify.

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Normal Schaffhausen trial to focus on insanity plea

Post by raine1953 on Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:53 pm

RIVER FALLS - The upcoming trial for accused child-killer Aaron Schaffhausen is expected to center more on his mental state than his guilty.

Schaffhausen is charged with three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one of attempted arson. He is accused of killing his three daughters, aged five through 11, at the River Falls home of his ex-wife.

A motions hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday with the trial to start a week from tomorrow. Neither prosecution nor the defense has ever suggested any other suspects in the killings.

If Schaffhausen is found guilty and insane, he would be committed to a mental health institution. His attorney says it would be unlikely his client would ever be released.
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Post by Wrapitup on Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:34 am

Schaffhausen may plead guilty, but maintain insanity claim

Article by: PAM LOUWAGIE , Star Tribune Updated: March 27, 2013 - 11:33 AM

Aaron Schaffhausen may admit to the River Falls, Wis., killings but maintain he isn’t responsible, his lawyer said.

Aaron Schaffhaussen, 35, is accused of killing his three children in their River Falls home in July.

Aaron Schaffhausen may change his plea to guilty to killing his three daughters, his defense attorney said Tuesday, but Schaffhausen would maintain a plea that he is not responsible for the crimes because of mental disease or defect.

The possible change could come at a scheduled pretrial hearing Wednesday morning in Hudson, Wis.

“I think that we’re going to change the plea tomorrow, just have an insanity phase” of the trial, defense attorney John Kucinski said in a brief phone interview Tuesday. The trial begins Monday with jury selection.

Schaffhausen, 35, is facing three counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the July 10 deaths of his daughters, 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia. A carpenter who lived in Minot, N.D., he is accused of cutting the girls’ throats while visiting them in River Falls while his ex-wife was at work.

In January, Schaffhausen added a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect, setting up a two-phase trial in which prosecutors would first have to prove he committed the crimes. If Schaffhausen is found guilty, the defense would have to prove insanity during a second phase.

People could change minds

Kucinski would not explain Tuesday why his client may change his plea. He said the possible plea is “subject to people changing their minds in the morning.”

Such a change would greatly shorten the length of the trial, which was expected to take three weeks.

In addition to the homicide charges, Schaffhausen faces a charge of arson after authorities found a gas fireplace turned on and gasoline poured in the basement.

It’s not uncommon for defendants to plead guilty to committing a crime but then plead not guilty by insanity, Marquette University Law School Prof. Daniel Blinka said.

Then the burden of proof will be on the defense to show by a preponderance of evidence that Schaffhausen had a mental disease or defect at the time of the crimes, and because of that he lacked substantial capacity to appreciate that what he did was wrong or couldn’t control his impulse, Blinka said.

A difficult path

Blinka and other Wisconsin legal experts have said it’s difficult for defendants to succeed on insanity claims.

“Anybody who engages in some of these enormously horrendous crimes we automatically think, and probably correctly so, that obviously there’s something wrong mentally with the person,” said David Schultz, a University of Wisconsin law professor emeritus. “But whether that meets the legal standard for this insanity defense is something else again. It is a relatively difficult standard to meet.”

Even if a jury agrees Schaffhausen is not mentally responsible for the crimes, he would not go free, experts said. He would likely be committed to a maximum security mental hospital, Schultz said.

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Normal Guilty but not responsible, Wisconsin suspect claims in his three daughters' deaths

Post by raine1953 on Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:57 am

Aaron Schaffhausen entered guilty pleas in the slaying of his three daughters, but he maintains that mental illness means he shouldn’t be held responsible.

HUDSON, WIS. – Jessica Schaffhausen sat in a courtroom and quietly cried as her ex-husband softly delivered the words that many had been waiting to hear: “Guilty ... Guilty ... Guilty.”

One after another Thursday, Aaron Schaffhausen admitted to killing their three daughters, 11-year old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia, in their River Falls home in July. It was a case one county prosecutor called the worst he’d ever seen.

Aaron Schaffhausen is still arguing that he should not be held responsible for the crimes, though, because of mental illness. His attorneys will attempt to prove that to a jury starting next week.

Defense attorney John Kucinski said after the hearing that his client decided to plead guilty to the crimes so they could get right to the heart of the matter: mental health.

“We just figured, well, let’s get to the issue, I guess,” Kucinski said.

Prosecutors had been poised to show a jury a stream of evidence that Aaron Schaffhausen cut his daughters’ throats, tried to set fire to the house where the girls lived with his ex-wife and phoned his ex-wife, saying he had killed their daughters on the afternoon of July 10.

They alleged that Schaffhausen, who was working a construction job in Minot, N.D., showed up near River Falls unexpectedly that day and asked his ex-wife if he could see the girls. She agreed but insisted that he leave the house before she returned home from work at 3:30 p.m.

When he arrived, the girls were excited to see their father and pulled him upstairs to show him their things, their baby sitter told authorities, according to court papers. She left soon afterward.

At 3:30 p.m., Jessica Schaffhausen answered her phone. “You can come home now, because I killed the kids,” her ex-husband told her, according to charges.

Police found each girl in her own bed, a blanket drawn up to her neck, dried blood on her face.

Victim advocates whisked Jessica Schaffhausen out of the courtroom after Thursday’s hearing. Her uncle Flint Watt later said by phone that their family is satisfied with the progress of the case so far.

“In some ways it might make it easier for family members to not have to have all the details come out in a trial about guilt,” Watt said.

In the courtroom just before the plea, Jessica Schaffhausen paged through photos of the girls on her cellphone. Women sitting next to her put their arms around her.

“I think she wanted to hear him admit that he had done what he did,” her uncle said.

Asked how she was faring, he said: “She’s had her tough times, but she’s an amazingly tough woman.”

There was no plea agreement with prosecutors, and St. Croix County Circuit Judge Howard Cameron made it clear to Schaffhausen that there were no guarantees as to what kind of sentence he might get.

Under the guilty pleas to first-degree intentional homicide, Schaffhausen faces a sentence of life in prison for each death. If he convinces a jury that he was insane, he would be sent to a mental institution.

Next week’s trial is likely to contain a flurry of mental health research and conclusions. Experts for the defense, the prosecution and the court have each examined the defendant.

To win an insanity claim, defense attorneys will specifically need to prove that Schaffhausen had a mental disease or defect at the time of the crimes and that because of that, he lacked “substantial capacity” either to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the law.

Although the defense has to prove insanity by a preponderance of evidence, not the more difficult standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, Wisconsin legal experts said it’s a difficult claim to win.

Prosecutors, who had more than 100 people on their witness list, are still likely to introduce a great deal of evidence about the actual crimes, trying to show that Schaffhausen planned them and then tried to cover them up.

They will likely highlight the deliberate steps Schaffhausen is accused of taking — getting a knife, cutting each daughter’s throat, tucking them into bed and calling his ex-wife — to show that he wasn’t acting impulsively and knew that what he was doing was wrong, said Daniel Blinka, Marquette University law professor.

The defense is likely to argue: “Look at what happened here. How can this guy not be nuts?” Blinka said.

Though experts help a jury make sense of mental illness, “we tell the jury that they’re not bound by medical labels,” Blinka said. “It’s a community standard, really, as to what is a mental disease or defect.”

While the public is quick to say someone who committed horrendous crimes has to be mentally ill, University of Wisconsin law Prof. Keith Findley said it comes down to a jury determining whether a defendant just couldn’t comprehend that what he was doing was wrong, or if he did understand it was wrong, he lacked the ability to control himself.

“It’s hard to satisfy juries to absolve somebody of responsibility when they’ve done something wrong and something serious,” Findley said. “But it does happen and it’s there for a reason, because the law has made a judgment that we don’t want to punish people for being sick.”

If, after the insanity trial, 10 out of 12 jurors agree that Aaron Schaffhausen was mentally ill and not responsible for the crimes, he would be committed to a mental institution, attorneys said.

Kucinski said after Thursday’s hearing that his client “would like to end up in a mental health institute so he can understand how this could have ever happened to him and his girls.”

In questioning his decision to plead Thursday, Aaron Schaffhausen was asked in court whether he was receiving mental health treatment in jail, where he is on suicide watch.

Schaffhausen responded: “I would like to have treatment, but it would have been used by the prosecution so I chose not to, under the advice of my attorney.”

Prosecutor Gary Freyberg said after the hearing that Schaffhausen has refused to speak to jail authorities on the advice of his attorney, so jail officials are compelled to keep him separate from other inmates and on suicide watch.

Kucinski said his client “has a lot of remorse. He’s depressed. He’s been depressed for a long time.”

Kucinski, who expects anywhere from 20 to 50 witnesses for the trial, said he was shocked the judge didn’t agree to move the trial to another county.

“For this whole community, it’s a very sad thing, isn’t it? There’s absolutely no winners in this,” Kucinski said. “There’s nothing that comes out of this but sadness, is there ... three young beautiful girls, they’re all deceased now.”

Along with the murder pleas, Aaron Schaffhausen pleaded guilty to attempted arson.
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Normal Sanity at Issue at Dad's Trial for Killing 3 Girls

Post by raine1953 on Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:47 pm

Police found a horrifying scene at the Schaffhausen family home in the western Wisconsin city of River Falls last July: three girls dead in their beds, their throats slashed. In the basement, gasoline was sloshed in a possible attempt to burn down their mother's house.

This week, the girls' father goes on trial to determine whether he was insane at the time. Aaron Schaffhausen last week conceded guilt on three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one of attempted arson, but maintained that he's not responsible for his actions due to mental illness.

Prosecutors argue Schaffhausen was perfectly aware of what he was doing, and killed 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia because he was still bitter about their divorce and furious because he thought she had begun seeing another man. Their evidence, according to a criminal complaint, includes a chilling statement to his ex-wife right after the killings: "You can come home now because I killed the kids."

Jury selection begins Monday in St. Croix County Circuit Court. Trial evidence is expected to include testimony from the girls' mother, Jessica Schaffhausen, and a recording of the 40-minute 911 call she made to police in River Falls, a community of about 15,000 people about 30 miles east of the Twin Cities.

For Schaffhausen, the stakes are likely the difference between spending the rest of his life in prison, if he's judged sane, or being committed to a psychiatric institution from which he might someday be released.

"Our office, as well as the attorney general's office, has put a lot of time into this case, a lot of resources, and I believe we're both prepared," District Attorney Eric Johnson said.

Schaffhausen's public defender, John Kucinski, spent months refusing to concede his client killed the girls. He fought hard in pretrial proceedings to exclude as much damaging evidence as possible, often unsuccessfully, ahead of last week's plea change.

Even though the focus has shifted to Schaffhausen's mental state, the lead prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Gary Freyberg, said he'll present much of the same evidence he had planned to use to prove guilt because he said it shows Schaffhausen understood what he was doing.

Aaron and Jessica Schaffhausen divorced in January 2011. Court papers indicate their marriage had been rocky for several years, and her mother told police the last straw was when Jessica discovered he was lying about having gone back to school. Her mother told police he either flunked out or dropped out, and kept it secret for several months, until it was too late to get a refund. Jessica and the girls stayed in the house in River Falls. Aaron took a construction job in Minot, N.D.

According to the complaint, Aaron Schaffhausen texted his ex-wife July 10, 2012, to ask for an unscheduled visit with the girls. She consented but said he had to be gone before she got home because she didn't want to see him. The girls' babysitter told investigators the children were excited when he arrived. The babysitter left. He called his wife about two hours later to say he'd killed their children.

Police arrived to find the girls lying in their beds, their blankets pulled up to their necks. White t-shirts were tied around their necks.

"All were found with their throats cut widely and deeply," prosecutors said in court filings. They said the "vast majority" of the blood at the scene was found in Cecilia's room, indicating he killed them there, and then tied the shirts around his girls' necks in an attempt to keep their blood off his own clothes as he carried the other children to their bedrooms. Only Cecilia showed signs of strangulation, they wrote.

Winning with an insanity defense is usually an uphill battle, though the legal test in Wisconsin is somewhat easier than in other states. Wisconsin requires at least 10 of the 12 jurors to find the evidence shows a defendant suffered from a "mental disease or defect" so great at the time that he or she "lacked substantial capacity either to appreciate the wrongfulness of his or her conduct or conform his or her conduct to the requirements of law."

Few details have emerged publicly on Schaffhausen's mental state since the girls were killed. He's been evaluated by experts for the prosecution, the defense and the court. Much of that information remains under seal. In a February filing, prosecutors said the defense had not spelled out Schaffhausen's mental defect or how it affected his actions.

Kucinski offered a hint in pretrial proceedings last week, however, when he said the prosecution expert concluded that Schaffhausen suffers from a "major depressive order." He did not elaborate.
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Post by Wrapitup on Sun Mar 31, 2013 5:11 pm

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Normal Jury Selected in Aaron Schaffhausen Case

Post by raine1953 on Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:02 pm

A jury is officially seated in the Aaron Schaffhausen case. The jury includes nine women and six men. At this point, it's unclear which jurors are the three alternates.

Schaffhausen originally pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect in last summer's slayings of his daughters in a River Falls, Wis. home.

On Thursday, he changed his plea to guilty while maintaining an insanity claim.

Schaffhausen arrived at court Monday morning wearing slacks, a shirt and a tie.

The selection process of the jury included 105 potential jurors.

During the selection process some of the potential jurors answered that they could not be fair and impartial during the trial, considering the crimes Schaffhausen has admitted to.

Schaffhausen, a construction worker from Minot, N.D., faces three counts of first-degree intentional homicide.

His daughters, 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia, were found dead in their beds July 10. The girls lived with Schaffhausen's ex-wife Jessica.

According to authorities, their throats had been slit, and gasoline had been poured in the basement in an apparent attempt to burn the house down.

Opening statements in the case will begin at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. The defense will begin to present its case and Schaffhausen's public defender says the first witness he plans to call will be the first officer who interviewed Schaffhausen on the day of the murders.
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Normal As trial starts, lawyers give differing descriptions of Schaffhausen

Post by raine1953 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:03 am

HUDSON -- His defense attorney said Aaron Schaffhausen killed his three young daughters in River Falls without realizing what he was doing. The prosecutor said Schaffhausen murdered the children -- Amara, 11, Sophie, 8, and Cecilia, 5 – to punish his ex-wife.

Public defender John Kucinski and lead prosecutor Gary Freyberg gave their opening statements Tuesday morning, outlining their arguments for jurors.

Since Schaffhausen, 35, pleaded guilty last week to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of attempted arson, the jury won’t be asked to determine his guilt but rather to decide if he was legally insane at the time of the murders.

His client was “a good looking guy” with a family and a job who did well in college but wasn’t able to stick with any occupation for long, said Kucinski.

The lawyer outlined the events in the lives of Aaron and Jessica Schaffhausen from the time they met at college in Mankato, Minn., through the births of their daughters and their eventual divorce.

Through it all, Aaron kept getting and losing jobs. He enrolled at UW-River Falls and did well in his chemistry and physics classes. But, said Kucinski, “as he did with so many jobs, all of a sudden, he quit.”

Then, said the lawyer, Schaffhausen sat around the house playing video games, neglecting his family and drinking excessively.

When his wife insisted he see a doctor, Schaffhausen did and was prescribed first one antidepressant and then another, but combined that with drinking and later quit the medications.

In August 2011 the couple separated. That fall Schaffhausen moved to North Dakota to work a construction job. His attorney said Schaffhausen was obsessed with this ex-wife and wanted them to reunite.

“He ends up calling Jessica all the time,” said Kucinski. The calls were made to her at home and at work – as many as 30 to 40 calls a day.

Schaffhausen saw his children only occasionally, but then called Jessica unexpectedly on July 10, 2012, to tell her he was in the area and ask to visit the girls.

“He describes (the children’s deaths) as if it’s kind of in a dream,” said Kucinski, adding that after the murders Schaffhausen put the children in their beds, covered them with blankets, got in his car and “just drives.”

Later Schaffhausen told a police officer he didn’t know what happened.

Responded Freyberg: “The truth of this case is that man knew exactly what he was doing – before, during and afterward.”

He said Schaffhausen “acted out of jealousy, anger, bitterness and revenge.”

The defendant wasn’t bipolar, schizophrenic, psychotic or delusional, said Freyberg.

“He was depressed, like a lot of people are, but he wasn’t out of touch with reality in any way,” said the prosecutor.

For more, read this week’s print edition of the River Falls Journal or the Hudson Star-Observer. Also watch for continuing online coverage.
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Normal RAW VIDEO: Opening Arguments in Aaron Schaffhausen Trial

Post by raine1953 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:12 am

Opening statements were heard from the defense in the insanity trial of a man who admitted last week that he killed his three daughters in their River Falls home.

Thirty-five-year-old Aaron Schaffhausen pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide, but he maintains he is not responsible because of a mental illness.

Public defender John Kucinski called the murders a "horrible, tragic act" but blamed them on an "extremely rare and complex condition" that he says runs in the Schaffhausen family.
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Normal 1st Day Witness Testimony in Schaffhausen Trial in Wis.

Post by raine1953 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:19 am

Jurors listened Tuesday to a 40-minute 911 call made by the ex-wife of a man who admitted to killing his three daughters last July at their home in River Falls, Wis.

The girls' father, 35-year-old Aaron Schaffhausen, has pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide, but he maintains he is not responsible for the killings because of a mental illness. The St. Croix County District Court trial is to determine his sanity.

The 911 call was played during the first day of witness testimony.

“I need somebody to go to (my house)," said Jessica Schaffhausen, the girls' mother, in the 911 call. "My husband just called me and told me he killed my kids.”

Aaron Schaffhausen was with his daughters, 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia that day in their River Falls home.

During testimony, the River Falls police dispatcher described Jessica Schaffhausen as "very upset" and "hyperventilating." The dispatcher, Ailene Splittgerber, stayed on the phone with her as she drove from the Twin Cities to River Falls after her ex-husband's call.

Hear the complete 911 call here.

Other testimony of the day included the children's babysitter, who last saw Aaron Schaffhausen with his daughters minutes before their killings.

A paramedic first on the scene and a police investigator also testified.

If Schaffhausen is found sane, he could go to prison for life. If the jury finds he was not responsible, he could be committed to a psychiatric institution and possibly released someday.

Prosecution's Opening Statements

Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Gary Freyberg said that Schaffhausen made a "conscious choice" to make his ex-wife suffer by killing their children last July in their home. Schaffhausen wanted to kill his children as revenge for his wife divorcing him, Freyberg said.

"He fantasized and rehearsed this deed," he said.

Schaffhausen, who moved to North Dakota following his divorce, traveled to Minnesota the day before the killings without telling his work, family or ex-wife. Once in Minnesota, Schaffhausen called his ex-wife, saying he was in the area for work.

Schaffhausen asked to see the children. His ex-wife agreed, but told him to leave the house before she returned at 4 p.m. A babysitter was home with the girls at the time, Freyberg said.

The babysitter, Fallon Moore, testified that the kids were very excited to see their father when he arrived.

The babysitter left the house shortly after Schaffhausen arrived at about 1:45 p.m. Moore told the jury there were no suspicious indicators or red flags regarding Schaffhausen's behavior.

When Moore left the home, Schaffhausen retrieved a duffel bag from his rental car, which had two knives inside it, Freyberg said.

At 3:41 p.m., Schaffhausen called his ex-wife and said "You can come home now. I killed the kids," Freyberg said.

She immediately called police, who went to the home. Inside, officers smelled gas. Upstairs, they found the girls dead, each in their beds with the covers pulled up to their chins, Freyberg said. A large pool of blood was found in Cecilia's bedroom, where the killings likely happened.

The girls' mother also sent two text messages to the babysitter, Moore said. The first message said, “He says he killed," and the second message said, "Them.”

Schaffhausen washed some of the girls' clothing, as well as his own, before leaving the house, Freyberg said. He also told police that he threw away a cell phone and laptop in dumpsters around the area.

The killings happened after a six-month period ended, allowing Schaffhausen and his ex-wife to remarry following their divorce, Freyberg said.

The prosecution argued that Schaffhausen's actions before and after the killings prove that he was mentally competent at the time.

Defense's Opening Statements

Schaffhausen's attorney John Kucinski called the murders a "horrible, tragic act" but blamed them on an "extremely rare and complex condition" that he says runs in the Schaffhausen family.

Kucinski then traced the events of the past several years through the prism of Schaffhausen's personality. Kucinski described Schaffhausen as a very bright, smart guy, who could become obsessive about certain things.

He argued that Schaffhausen became increasingly depressed as his marriage with his ex-wife fell apart, and that Schaffhausen became verbally abusive and threatening.

Kucinski said Schaffhausen's mental problems increased when he was prescribed antidepressants and that one medication made him "downright crazy," especially when he drank alcohol.

The defender said Schaffhausen described the day of the murders of his daughters as "a dream." Kucinski said, "Aaron wanted to clean them up, but the cuts were too deep. So he wrapped up their necks and put them in bed and kissed them."

Kucinski said Schaffhausen then remembers driving around and then turned himself in to police.

Testimony is expected from three psychologists who say Schaffhausen had a "major depression disorder," according to Kucinski.

He told the jury to keep an open mind and that no one is to blame for what happened.

First Day of Trial

On Monday, it took six hours of intense questioning from attorneys on both sides to select the jury, which includes nine women and six men. At this point, it's unclear which jurors are the three alternates.

The selection process of the jury included 105 potential jurors.

During the selection process some of the potential jurors answered that they could not be fair and impartial during the trial, considering the crimes Schaffhausen has admitted to.
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Normal 911 Call Reporting Girls' Killings in Schaffhausen Trial Warning: video contains graphic content.

Post by raine1953 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:26 am

Jurors listened Tuesday to a 40-minute 911 call made by the ex-wife of a man who admitted to killing his three daughters last July at their home in River Falls, Wis.

“I need somebody to go to (my house)," said Jessica Schaffhausen, the girls' mother, during the 911 call. "My husband just called me and told me he killed my kids.”

The girls' father, 35-year-old Aaron Schaffhausen, has pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide, but he maintains he is not responsible for the killings because of a mental illness. The St. Croix County District Court trial is to determine his sanity.

The 911 call was played during the first day of witness testimony.
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Normal Re: Aaron Schaffhausen Murdered Daughters Amara, Sophie & Cecil/Schaffhausen pleads guilty to murders, jury will decide if he was sane/Jury: Guilty BUT SANE of 3 counts 1st degree murder/7.16.13 Judge orders three life sentences to be served consecutively

Post by raine1953 on Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:39 am

That video is very hard to listen to. I got over half way and my computer froze so I have not heard the last half.
That poor Mother and the girls! cryingagain
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Post by Wrapitup on Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:05 am

Just cannot bring myself to listen to this right now. WOW, I feel SO horrible for that poor mom and the girls, too, Raine. Cannot begin to imagine! crying

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Normal Potential Threat Tightens Security as Schaffhausen Trial Resumes

Post by raine1953 on Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:27 pm

Aaron Schaffhausen's insanity defense will resume at 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Schaffhausen has already admitted to killing his three daughters. Now, his attorneys are trying to prove he was insane when he did it.

Once the defense wraps up its case, the prosecution has 120 people on its list of witnesses.

Meanwhile, St. Croix County authorities say security will be tighter Monday at the western Wisconsin courthouse where Schaffhausen is on trial.

The sheriff's office issued a statement saying deputies responded to a "potential threat" inside the St. Croix County Government Center and Courthouse in Hudson around 9:45 a.m. Friday. The statement says one individual was taken into custody and there's "no other known threat to the public."

Sgt. Jeff Kennett says authorities aren't providing further details on the incident. He says he can't comment on whether it's related to the Schaffhausen trial.

The statement says access to the Government Center will require security screening starting Monday.
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Normal Parents of Aaron Schaffhausen Take the Stand

Post by raine1953 on Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:35 pm

Aaron Schaffhausen's trial is now underway in St. Croix County for a second week and with tighter security measures.

Thirty-five-year-old Aaron Schaffhausen has pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide, but he maintains he is not responsible for the killings of 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie, and 5-year-old Cecilia because of a mental illness. The St. Croix County District Court trial is to determine his sanity.

Monday's witnesses included Roger Schaffhausen, the father of Aaron Schaffhausen; Suzanne Margaret Allen, the mother of Aaron Schaffhausen; and Dr. Ralph Baker, a medical expert.

Childhood

Roger Schaffhausen testified Aaron Schaffhausen was the second oldest of four children. He said his son was difficult as a child but fairly normal. He testified Aaron Schaffhausen had trouble sleeping, was more sensitive to touch, and wasn't as "cuddly" as his first son.

He also recalled an incident in third grade where Aaron Schaffhausen got scared and ran out of school, adding that his son was bullied in fourth grade because he was the new kid.

According to Allen, her son didn't interact well with others and didn't have many friends. She said he was "exceedingly smart" but a "challenge," adding that he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder in third grade.

When asked about mental illness in the family, Roger Schaffhausen said there wasn't any history that he knew of on his side of the family. As for his ex-wife's side, Roger Schaffhausen testified she was diagnosed as borderline manic depressive, saying that she took Lithium, which is commonly used as a psychiatric medication, when they were separated.

"Aaron suffered from mental illness probably his whole childhood," Allen testified. Allen said she's been depressed and that her mother and sisters all suffered from depression and anxiety.

In his teenage years, Roger Schaffhausen said his son was rebellious, belligerent and was difficult at home. He also said Aaron Schaffhausen had some trouble with the law, saying that Aaron Schaffhausen once stole a gun and brought it to school. Aaron Schaffhausen spent time in Lino Lakes Detention Center, was arrested for shoplifting, stole money from a neighbor and was expelled from school for gang-related reasons, his father said.

Roger Schaffhausen said they also got into a physical altercation once.

Roger and Aaron Schaffhausen’s mother divorced when he was still in school. Allen said there were lots of disputes about money and that she was depressed much of the time during their marriage when Aaron Schaffhausen was a child.

She testified that Roger Schaffhausen never told Aaron Schaffhausen that he loved him and that it was hard for him to show affection.

Family Life

When Aaron Schaffhausen was in his 20s, Allen said he was energetic, talented, easy-going, and fun-loving, but there was always an "undercurrent of sadness."

Roger Schaffhausen said he had a much better relationship with his son as an adult. After Aaron Schaffhausen married, Roger Schaffhausen said he would see him for regular family events.

"It seemed like the marriage was going well; the kids were happy," he said.

He said he had no concerns about Aaron Schaffhausen being a parent and that "he would play with them, do coloring and play some games with the girls.”

"He adored the children, and they loved him," Allen said, "He'd come home from work and the girls would run and scream, 'Daddy!' and jump in his arms. His face would just beam."

Roger Schaffhausen said his son showed the girls how to use a hammer when building a deck and showed them how he did his work. He was “very loving; he enjoyed their company, they enjoyed him," he said

He also testified Aaron Schaffhausen enjoyed work and took pride in it.

Growing Concerns

Roger Schaffhausen said he grew concerned about Aaron Schaffhausen’s well-being in November 2011. When Aaron Schaffhausen was in Minot, N.D., he wouldn't return phone calls and would sometimes disappear without the family knowing where he was, his father said.

A family meeting prompted them to go find him in Minot. He said Aaron Schaffhausen was having a difficult time but they believed he was "dealing with it."

The family didn't see him again until early January 2012 when the divorce was finalized with Jessica Schaffhausen.

Roger Schaffhausen talked about phone calls he received from Aaron Schaffhausen in January and February. He recalled one that came in around 2 a.m. "He was very despondent, depressed, and sounded like he was almost weeping," he testified.

"He wanted to do terrible things to Jessica’s boyfriend and wanted to hurt the girls to show Jessica how much pain he was in," Roger Schaffhausen said. "He missed the girls, he missed the life that he had, and he wanted to get it back to how it was.”


Roger Schaffhausen called them "demons in his head" and told Aaron Schaffhausen to get help. He said his son eventually stopped talking and hung up.

The next time Roger Schaffhausen said he saw his son was during a visit in March. "We wanted to just have a normal visit," he said. "We didn't press any issues on the phone calls."

He said if they pushed him, he would get upset and they wouldn't hear anything from him for a while. When things were going poorly, they would usually hear from Aaron Schaffhausen’s ex-wife.

Roger Schaffhausen said there was little contact after March but thought "no news was good news." He first learned about the murders from Jessica’s mom.

Mental Evaluation

Dr. Ralph Baker was called by the defense to testify about Aaron Schaffhausen's sanity. According to his testimony, Baker has done more than 1,500 evaluations and has been hired by courts, prosecutors and defense teams.

Baker said he interviewed Aaron Schaffhausen for more than three hours, saying he was "cooperative and friendly" but that he "looked depressed, acted depressed and has a history of depression." He said Aaron Schaffhausen was very lucid and coherent and gave a "very good history" compared to a number of other people he's seen.

Baker had asked Aaron Schaffhausen to tell him about the day of the murders. According to Baker, Aaron Schaffhausen said, "It was a spur-of-the-moment thing." Baker said he looked "very depressed and sad and tearful" during that moment.

Baker testified that he believes Aaron Schaffhausen may have obsessive compulsive traits and that he was fixated on or obsessed with Jessica Schaffhausen.

Once the defense wraps up its case, the prosecution has 120 people on its list of witnesses.

There will also be security screenings for visitors and employees at the courthouse this week. The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reports a co-worker of Aaron Schaffhausen has been arrested on possible charges of threatening a witness. Authorities say the arrest stemmed from an incident Friday, the same day there was a security issue at the St. Croix County Government Center.
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Normal Criminal Complaint

Post by raine1953 on Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:43 pm

I can't find a way to copy this, the link is below. Warning: GRAPHIC!
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Normal Psychologist offers theory in Schaffhausen murders

Post by raine1953 on Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:52 pm

The psychiatrist appointed by the court says Aaron Schaffhausen was sane when he murdered his three little daughters. The clinical psychologist hired by the defense says he was not.

Psychiatrist Ralph K. Baker testified Monday, and psychologist J. Reid Meloy took the stand Tuesday as the trial continued into its second week at the St. Croix County Government Center in Hudson.

Schaffhausen, 35, has pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of attempted arson in the July 10, 2012, slayings of Amara, age 11; Sophie, 8; and Cecilia, 5. Jurors must decide if the man was legally competent at the time of the murders.

The doctors agreed Schaffhausen was clinically depressed. But Baker, who for 20 years was interim director or director of Winnebago Mental Health Institute, said the defendant knew right from wrong and was able to control his behavior.

Meloy, who said he has testified in court cases in 25 states, many involving “complex and unusual homicides,” said the crimes fit the criteria of “catathymic homicides.”

He said “catathymic” means “in accordance with emotion,” and such crimes are the result of “deep-seated emotions that the person (committing the crime) doesn’t understand.”

Along with clinically recurring depression, Schaffhausen suffers from personality disorders, obsessive thinking, impulsivity and narcissism, said Meloy.

He said Schaffhausen did not bond with his father but developed a strong bond with his mother and transferred that attachment to his wife, Jessica.

“This was a dependent man who, in my mind, it was like not only was she his wife, she was his mother,” said Meloy.

In forming his opinion, Baker said he relied on observations by people who saw Schaffhausen around the time of the murders, other external sources and on what Schaffhausen himself said during an interview in February, seven months after the killings.

During that examination, testified Baker, Schaffhausen said after he arrived at the house in River Falls last July 10, he offered to take the girls down to the river and was helping Cecilia, the youngest, with her shoes. The next thing he knew, Schaffhausen told Baker, he was choking the child.

For more, please read this week’s print edition of the River Falls Journal or the Hudson Star-Observer.
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Post by Wrapitup on Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:55 pm

One tough thread to read. Or, should I say yet Another tough thread to read. crying

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Normal Schaffhausen witness was collared with two knives near courtroom

Post by raine1953 on Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:56 pm

A $50,000 cash bond was set Monday afternoon for a witness who allegedly made vague threats toward witnesses and prosecutors in the Aaron Schaffhausen murder trial, currently underway at Hudson.

Joseph Aaron Rollag, 31, of Andover, Minn., was arrested by sheriff's deputies Friday inside the Government Center shortly after he'd telephoned a psychiatric evaluating nurse and told her he was having, according to the criminal complaint, "vague homicide thoughts."

The nurse subsequently called the St. Croix Dispatch Center, and an officer was sent to the hallway outside the courtroom. There a deputy who was monitoring the metal detector said Rollag had approached him and insisted on speaking with Schaffhausen’s attorney.

The deputy escorted Rollag into a conference room where a search subsequently turned up two knives. A third knife was found in his pickup.

Rollag allegedly called the psychiatric nurse from a blue Dodge Dakota pickup that he purchased from Aaron Schaffhausen. Television video aired over the weekend showed deputies searching the truck as it sat in the Government Center parking lot.

Rollag was charged with battery or threat to a witness (a felony), possession of a switchblade knife, carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct -- use of a dangerous weapon.

Rollag appeared by teleconference Monday afternoon before Judge Scott Needham.

Rollag testified in the Schaffhausen trial last week.
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Post by raine1953 on Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:56 pm

Wrapitup wrote:One tough thread to read. Or, should I say yet Another tough thread to read. crying
I so agree! I just skip over the graphic parts as I just cannot read them!
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Normal Schaffhausen was insane when he killed, defense psychologist testifies

Post by raine1953 on Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:01 am

HUDSON, Wis. — A mental health expert hired by Aaron Schaffhausen’s defense team testified Tuesday morning that Schaffhausen was insane when he killed his three daughters in July.

John Reid Meloy, a San Diego-based forensic psychologist, interviewed Schaffhausen for about 10 ½ hours on two separate visits and administered four tests. Meloy said Schaffhausen had a “major depression” accompanied by personality traits that caused him to lack substantial capacity to conform his conduct to the law, Wisconsin’s legal definition.

Schaffhausen pleaded guilty to killing his three daughters: 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia at the home they shared with their mother in River Falls, Wis. His defense attorneys are trying to prove that he was insane at the time and should be sent to a mental institution instead of prison.

Meloy testified that although many people have depression, Schaffhausen had personality traits including prominent dependence, obsessive thinking, impulsivity and narcissistic and borderline features.

“This is a complicated individual,” Meloy said before a St. Croix County Jury.

On Monday, a court-appointed mental health expert testified that Schaffhausen had a major depressive disorder, but found no evidence he had a major mental illness or “abnormal condition of the mind.”
The second day of Aaron Schaffhausen’s insanity trial resumed with a viewing of the lengthy police interview of Schaffhausen after he turned himself in to River Falls police.
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Post by Wrapitup on Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:13 am

I think if he has plead guilty, he should go to prison and get mental help while he is incarcerated. I do NOT think he was insane and neither does the prosecution's shrink from what I've read. Now, I've not been able to read specifics because this case is (for me) to difficult to read. Meaning, I personally cannot deal w/all the graphics of him killing his children. Sane or insane, he killed them. Lock him up in prison or a mental home for life. MOO.

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Post by raine1953 on Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:30 am

I've kept up w/ this case except for the graphic descriptions, I just cannot go there. All the so-called experts for the defense are going to keep saying he wasn't sane, prosecutors will keep saying the opposite. He belongs in prison IMHO . I will say this, I think we should have better mental facilities in the prisons, so many w/ mental problems end up in solitary confinement which makes them completely nuts and if they're ever let out no one is safe. We've seen too many of these people who we thought would be locked up for life let out. JMOO.
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Post by Wrapitup on Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:49 am

In complete agreement w/your JMOO.

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Post by Wrapitup on Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:50 am

JMOO =just my opinion only.

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Normal Print Email Font Resize Schaffhausen defense rests its case, saying he won't testify

Post by raine1953 on Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:10 am

Aaron Schaffhausen's defense rested its case Wednesday, April 10, telling the court that Schaffhausen would not testify on his own behalf in the trial to determine whether he was insane when he killed his three young daughters last summer.

Schaffhausen, 35, already has pleaded guilty to killing Amara, 11, Sophie, 8, and Cecilia, 5, in the River Falls, Wis., home they shared with their mother, but he maintains his mental state at the time makes him not responsible for the crimes.

A San Diego psychologist, J. Reid Meloy, supported that claim when he testified Tuesday as the defense's final witness, telling the St. Croix County Circuit Court that Schaffhausen's depression combined with a personality disorder made him unable to obey the law.

Now taking the reins in the trial is the prosecution, which called a dozen witnesses to the stand Wednesday, starting with a neighbor who lived near the Schaffhausen home.

Lisbeth Danielson testified that Schaffhausen called her several times after he and his wife split in the summer of 2011, asking if she knew where Jessica Schaffhausen was and if she was dating anyone. She said Schaffhausen become angry by the end of each conversation.

In one text-message conversation about him not seeing his children, he told her to mind her own business but later apologized, she said.

Cousin-in-law Allyson Hart, a physician, testified that an angry Schaffhausen also called her after the separation. In most of the conversations,

he would begin by pretending to seek medical advice but then steer the conversation toward his divorce.
"He made it very clear that it was Jess' fault," Hart said.

When she asked him at one point why he was not speaking to his daughters, he told her the girls "reminded him of everything he had lost" and said he knew not contacting them would bother his former wife, Hart said. She told him that was "a terrible idea" that would only hurt his girls, but he did not agree, she said, adding that he resisted when she told him to get therapy.

Schaffhausen's anger also surfaced in testimony from Josh Flanders, who dated Jessica Schaffhausen around the time of the divorce, and his mother, Judith Flanders.

Judith Flanders said she got a call from Schaffhausen in February 2012 in which Schaffhausen, in a stern voice, said something to the effect of, "Do you know your son is (expletive) my wife?" In a call later that month, he told her something to the effect of, "If you don't want your son's life shortened, he needs to stop (expletive) my wife," she said.

Her son testified to getting a call from Schaffhausen that implied a threat.

The court also heard from two employees of a St. Paul bar who served Schaffhausen drinks just hours before he cut the throats of his daughters during an unsupervised visit July 10.

After staying a night at the Holiday Inn in downtown St. Paul, Schaffhausen walked that morning into the Liffey Irish Pub and ordered a Bloody Mary, witnesses testified. He later ordered another Bloody Mary, a sandwich and a beer, said Hannah Ackerley, who was bartending.


Sitting at the bar, he chatted with Ackerley about going to see his girls that day, Ackerley testified. She didn't notice anything unusual about him until he handed her his credit card and she saw his hand "had quite a shake," she said.

The prosecution is expected to wrap up its case sometime next week.

The state's mental health expert has yet to testify, though a court-appointed expert testified this week that Schaffhausen was legally sane at the time of the crimes.

If the jury finds Schaffhausen not responsible for the killings, he will be committed to a mental health institute, possibly for life. If not, he will be sentenced to life in prison.

Andy Rathbun can be reached at 651-228-2121.
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Defendent Aaron Schaffhausen leaves the courtroom after morning opening arguments on the first day of his murder trialin Hudson Wisconsin Tuesday April 4, 2013.
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Normal Re: Aaron Schaffhausen Murdered Daughters Amara, Sophie & Cecil/Schaffhausen pleads guilty to murders, jury will decide if he was sane/Jury: Guilty BUT SANE of 3 counts 1st degree murder/7.16.13 Judge orders three life sentences to be served consecutively

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:43 am

Guilty! Just send him away to the funny farm..

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Normal Man who dated Jessica Schaffhausen testifies he received threatening call

Post by raine1953 on Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:11 pm

Day 8 in the jury trial to determine if Aaron Schaffhausen was legally insane when he murdered his three young daughters brought testimony from a man who dated Schaffhausen’s ex-wife and the man’s mother.

Both Josh Flanders and his mother, Judith Flanders, said they received what they considered to be threatening phone calls from the 35-year-old Schaffhausen between the time he separated from Jessica Schaffhausen and the murders of his daughters on July 10, 2012.

Josh Flanders said Schaffhausen told him that bad things would happen if he continued to see Jessica Schaffhausen and that he should watch his back.

Flanders said he asked Schaffhausen if he was threatening him, and Schaffhausen said that he wasn’t, but then repeated the statement that he should watch is back.

“He was trying to dance around the question,” said Flanders.

Judith Flanders testified that Schaffhausen told her over the phone, “If you don’t want to see your son’s life shortened, he needs to stop f--- my wife.”

Twelve witnesses in all were called by the prosecution in testimony that began Wednesday morning, April 10, and ended at about 4:30 p.m.

Schaffhausen’s former boss, Michael G. Tappe, answered questions about the type of employee Schaffhausen was. He said Schaffhausen worked for him for more than 10 years, starting as a carpenter and advancing to foreman.

Tappe described Schaffhausen as a good worker, very organized and well-liked by customers.

The prosecution, Assistant Wisconsin Attorney General Gary Freyberg and St. Croix County Assistant District Attorney Amber Hahn, appeared to be trying to make the case that Schaffhausen was competent and someone who planned his actions.

Tappe also testified about a problem the construction company had with Schaffhausen in February or March of 2012, dealing with inaccurate time card reporting and attendance.

He said he talked to Schaffhausen about it, and there were no further issues.

A Minot, N.D., police officer testified about having taken Schaffhausen into custody on March 7, 2012, after Minot police received a call from the River Falls Police Department saying he had threatened to kill Jessica.

Patrol Officer Charles S. Johnson said he went to the apartment where Schaffhausen was living with Joseph Rollag.

A very-intoxicated, tall, white male answered the door, Johnson said. When he asked for Schaffhausen, the man motioned toward the other man in the apartment, the officer said.

The other man indicated that the intoxicated man was Schaffhausen.

Johnson stopped Schaffhausen as he was walking away from the apartment in the building hallway and placed him in handcuffs.

Dr. Allyson Hart, who is married to a cousin of Schaffhausen, testified about phone calls she received from Schaffhausen after he and his wife had separated.

Hart said that in one call he told her he wasn’t talking to his daughters because it reminded him of everything he had lost, and that he knew it would hurt Jessica.

A former rental car agency manager, a hotel general manager and two restaurant workers provided details about Schaffhausen’s actions the morning before he drove from St. Paul to River Falls and killed his children.

Two law enforcement officers also testified – Investigator Brent Standaert of the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department and Officer Chris Gottfredsen of the River Falls Police Department.

Judge Howard Cameron delayed the resumption of testimony until 10 a.m. Thursday, April 11, because of the ice and snowstorm that was expected.

Freyberg said the prosecution would be calling experts from the Wisconsin Crime Labs in Madison and Wausau to the stand.

Judge Cameron said the trial was proceeding a little more quickly than anticipated. He said it appears that it will end sometime before the end of next week (April 15-19).
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Normal Police officers, toxicologists testify in Schaffhausen insanity trial

Post by raine1953 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:59 am

Two of the first police officers who responded to the house where Aaron Schaffhausen killed his three young daughters testified Thursday, April 11, in the trial to determine whether Schaffhausen was legally insane at the time of the slayings last summer in River Falls, Wis.

About 3:30 p.m. on July 10, Jessica Schaffhausen made a 911 call, telling police that her ex-husband had just called and told her he had killed their girls during an unsupervised visit. A River Falls Police Department dispatcher speaking with her began typing notes, which were spotted by police Sgt. Mike Reardon.

"I read that she typed, 'Ex-husband killed the children,' " he said in St. Croix Circuit Court in Hudson. "As soon as I read that, I left."

Reardon went to the home Jessica Schaffhausen shared with her three girls -- Amara, 11, Sophie, 8, and Cecilia, 5 -- and met three other officers at the scene, he said. Using a code for the attached garage, the four officers entered the house and began to clear it room by room. While in the basement, officers noticed a strong smell of gasoline, Reardon said.

After clearing the basement and first floor, they made their way upstairs, where officers discovered a large pool of blood on the floor of Cecilia's room, officer Christopher Kober testified. The officers then found the girls' bodies in their beds, he said. Their throats had been cut.

Concerned the house could explode, the officers sprinted outside, Kober said. Reardon said he then called

Also taking the stand Thursday were two toxicologists with the state crime lab who tested Schaffhausen's blood for drugs and alcohol.

Employees of the Liffey Irish Pub in St. Paul testified Wednesday that they served Schaffhausen two Bloody Marys and a beer in the hours before the killings, but toxicologist Molly Ross said the sample of Schaffhausen's blood -- collected from Schaffhausen at about 8:30 p.m., several hours after the killings -- showed an amount of alcohol that was below the baseline reporting level.

She also tested the blood for several drugs, but found none, she said. Toxicologist Amanda Hanson tested the blood for other drugs and found the presence of nicotine and caffeine, Hanson said.

The court also heard testimony Thursday from a credit union employee -- who testified that Schaffhausen withdrew $1,000 from his account the day before the killings -- and several other witnesses.

The prosecution is expected to call witnesses into next week.

Schaffhausen, 35, has pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of attempted arson, for trying to set fire to the house. However, he maintains that his mental state at the time makes him not responsible for the crimes.

If a jury agrees, he will be indefinitely committed to a psychiatric institution. If not, he will be sentenced to life in prison.
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Normal Cops Share Chilling Testimony Of Schaffhausen Home

Post by raine1953 on Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:58 am

HUDSON, Wis. (WCCO) – The defense maintains that Aaron Schaffhausen was insane when he killed his three girls in their home in River Falls, Wis.

The defense argues that he should be sent to a state mental hospital, where he could one day be released.

Thursday brought chilling testimony from the officers who entered the Schaffhausen home with their guns drawn not knowing what they were going to find.

River Falls police officer Christopher Kober was one of them.

“I saw the pool of blood on the floor,” he said.

The officers quickly found the girls each in their bed.

“I saw a child lying in the top of the bunk bed,” Kober said before being asked if she was dead.

He responded, “Yes it was.”

River Falls Sgt. Mike Reardon was emotional as he described what another officer had told him

“They had found a deceased child in each of the other two rooms,” Reardon said.

In other testimony, a compliance officer at a Twin Cities Credit Union testified that Aaron Schaffhausen withdrew $1,000 from his account the day before the murders.

When Schaffhausen turned himself in after the murders, he had $800 of cash on him. The prosecution has argued that Schaffhausen attempted to cover up the crimes before turning himself in, and may have at one point considered fleeing after the murders.

As he has throughout the trial Schaffhausen showed no emotion in court.

The officers who responded also said they were worried that the Schaffhausen home was going to explode because there was a strong odor of gas, and a fireplace was turned on despite the fact that it was the middle of July.

Prosecutors say Schaffhausen poured gasoline in the basement and turned the fireplace on in an apparent effort to get the home to catch fire.
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Post by Wrapitup on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:03 pm

Testimony Ends in Aaron Schaffhausen Insanity Trial

Aaron Schaffhausen reportedly said he had reoccurring images of violence against his children, his ex-wife and her new boyfriend months before killing his three daughters.

Schaffhausen, 35, also told a forensic psychiatrist that he aborted plans to kill his children two times before, said Dr. Erik Knudson, who had nearly a seven-hour interview this year with Schaffhausen.

For three weeks, Schaffhausen has been on trial in St. Croix County District Court to determine if he was sane during the killings of his children 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie, and 5-year-old Cecilia.

The prosecution rested its case Monday afternoon. The prosecution and defense began discussing with the judge jury instructions for deliberations.

Schaffhausen has pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide, but he maintains he's not responsible for the killings because of a mental illness.

The prosecution called Knudson, its medical expert, to the stand Monday morning. Knudson testified that Schaffhausen had major depression, alcohol dependency and an antisocial personality disorder.

Schaffhausen's depression was not relevant in the killings, Knudson said. Also, Schaffhausen's personality disorder is not mental illness, Knudson said. Instead, he characterized it as a pattern of behavior that allows Schaffhausen to disregard the rights of other people.

The killings happened July 10, 2012 at Schaffhausen's ex-wife's home in River Falls, Wis. Schaffhausen was alone with his daughters at the time.

Knudson described Schaffhausen's responses during the March 5 interview as "rehearsed information." Knudson said Schaffhausen suffered from a mental disease during the killings, but he didn't lack capacity to conform his conduct to the law.

Schaffhausen told Knudson that he was suicidal the week before the murders. He said he believed his divorce was caused by his depression, but his ex-wife didn't understand that.

During a March 2012 phone call to his ex-wife, Schaffhausen told Knudson that his reported threats were like a game of telephone. But his ex-wife overreacted to his comments and called the police, which might have made him begin to think about violence.

Day of the Murders

Schaffhausen said he never made threats against his children, Knudson testified. But Schaffhausen did think about his children dying, killing his ex-wife's boyfriend, as well as other people who possibly convinced his ex-wife to get a divorce.

Those thoughts prove that Schaffhausen was thinking about the killings as much as five days before they happened, Knudson testified.

Alone with the girls July 10, 2012, Schaffhausen told Knudson that he began choking and shaking Cecilia - the youngest - in her bedroom. He left the room to get a knife and sent his other two daughters upstairs with their sister.

Sophie entered the room first, Schaffhausen told Knudson. Schaffhausen leaned forward with the knife and in a rocking motion made two cuts to her neck. Then he cut Cecilia.

Amara came into the room, he told Knudson. Startled from all the blood, she jumped. Schaffhausen then leaned forward and cut her neck, he said.

After the killings, Schaffhausen cut off power to the home's furnace before spreading gasoline in the basement, he told Knudson. Schaffhausen said he knew the gasoline was flammable and could put him in danger, Knudson testified.

"This followed a very intense situation where he just killed his three children," Knudson said. "Mr. Schaffhausen, in the midst of trying to cleanup the crime scene and move the bodies of his children - and then make plans that he might burn down the house - had the mental awareness at that moment that his actions might put him in danger."

"I believe that this shows that he is exhibiting the capacity to conform his conduct at that time," Knudson testified.

Schaffhausen told Knudson that when he returned upstairs and saw his daughters he got distracted and forgot about the arson plan, Knudson said. Schaffhausen cleaned some of the blood in the carpet, changed his clothes, then left the house.

He made sure to leave before his ex-wife got home, Schaffhausen told Knudson.

Schaffhausen then drove aimlessly around, throwing items away from his car, Knudson said. He threw away a computer - which Schaffhausen said had emails and Facebook messages that he didn't want police to read, Knudson said. He also threw away tools, which Schaffhausen planned to use to break into his ex-wife's house, and a cellphone.

"Mr. Schaffhausen showed through his behavior that he wanted to get rid of things that potentially connected him to a crime scene," Knudson testified.

When Knudson asked if it was wrong to kill his daughters, Schaffhausen didn't respond.

Schaffhausen also said that he lied to his coworkers about his travel plans to Minnesota because he needed a reason a travel to the area, Knudson said. Schaffhausen told his coworkers that he needed to visit the Twin Cities because his ex-wife asked him to retrieve his belongings from the house, Knudson said.

"It's deception that he intentionally distorted information to come up with a reason that he would need to be there," Knudson said. "It does show awareness to what he was doing. It also shows that he's capable of conforming his conduct."

Knudson is expected to be the final witness for the prosecution.

Closing arguments in the case could begin as early as Monday. The jury could begin deliberating as early as Tuesday.

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Normal Testimony Ends in Aaron Schaffhausen Insanity Trial

Post by raine1953 on Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:27 am

Aaron Schaffhausen reportedly said he had reoccurring images of violence against his children, his ex-wife and her new boyfriend months before killing his three daughters.

Schaffhausen, 35, also told a forensic psychiatrist that he aborted plans to kill his children two times before, said Dr. Erik Knudson, who had nearly a seven-hour interview this year with Schaffhausen.

For three weeks, Schaffhausen has been on trial in St. Croix County District Court to determine if he was sane during the killings of his children 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie, and 5-year-old Cecilia.

The prosecution rested its case Monday afternoon. The prosecution and defense began discussing with the judge jury instructions for deliberations.

Schaffhausen has pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide, but he maintains he's not responsible for the killings because of a mental illness.

The prosecution called Knudson, its medical expert, to the stand Monday morning. Knudson testified that Schaffhausen had major depression, alcohol dependency and an antisocial personality disorder.

Schaffhausen's depression was not relevant in the killings, Knudson said. Also, Schaffhausen's personality disorder is not mental illness, Knudson said. Instead, he characterized it as a pattern of behavior that allows Schaffhausen to disregard the rights of other people.

The killings happened July 10, 2012 at Schaffhausen's ex-wife's home in River Falls, Wis. Schaffhausen was alone with his daughters at the time.

Knudson described Schaffhausen's responses during the March 5 interview as "rehearsed information." Knudson said Schaffhausen suffered from a mental disease during the killings, but he didn't lack capacity to conform his conduct to the law.

Schaffhausen told Knudson that he was suicidal the week before the murders. He said he believed his divorce was caused by his depression, but his ex-wife didn't understand that.

During a March 2012 phone call to his ex-wife, Schaffhausen told Knudson that his reported threats were like a game of telephone. But his ex-wife overreacted to his comments and called the police, which might have made him begin to think about violence.

Day of the Murders

Schaffhausen said he never made threats against his children, Knudson testified. But Schaffhausen did think about his children dying, killing his ex-wife's boyfriend, as well as other people who possibly convinced his ex-wife to get a divorce.

Those thoughts prove that Schaffhausen was thinking about the killings as much as five days before they happened, Knudson testified.

Alone with the girls July 10, 2012, Schaffhausen told Knudson that he began choking and shaking Cecilia - the youngest - in her bedroom. He left the room to get a knife and sent his other two daughters upstairs with their sister.

Sophie entered the room first, Schaffhausen told Knudson. Schaffhausen leaned forward with the knife and in a rocking motion made two cuts to her neck. Then he cut Cecilia.

Amara came into the room, he told Knudson. Startled from all the blood, she jumped. Schaffhausen then leaned forward and cut her neck, he said.

After the killings, Schaffhausen cut off power to the home's furnace before spreading gasoline in the basement, he told Knudson. Schaffhausen said he knew the gasoline was flammable and could put him in danger, Knudson testified.

"This followed a very intense situation where he just killed his three children," Knudson said. "Mr. Schaffhausen, in the midst of trying to cleanup the crime scene and move the bodies of his children - and then make plans that he might burn down the house - had the mental awareness at that moment that his actions might put him in danger."

"I believe that this shows that he is exhibiting the capacity to conform his conduct at that time," Knudson testified.

Schaffhausen told Knudson that when he returned upstairs and saw his daughters he got distracted and forgot about the arson plan, Knudson said. Schaffhausen cleaned some of the blood in the carpet, changed his clothes, then left the house.

He made sure to leave before his ex-wife got home, Schaffhausen told Knudson.

Schaffhausen then drove aimlessly around, throwing items away from his car, Knudson said. He threw away a computer - which Schaffhausen said had emails and Facebook messages that he didn't want police to read, Knudson said. He also threw away tools, which Schaffhausen planned to use to break into his ex-wife's house, and a cellphone.

"Mr. Schaffhausen showed through his behavior that he wanted to get rid of things that potentially connected him to a crime scene," Knudson testified.

When Knudson asked if it was wrong to kill his daughters, Schaffhausen didn't respond.

Schaffhausen also said that he lied to his coworkers about his travel plans to Minnesota because he needed a reason a travel to the area, Knudson said. Schaffhausen told his coworkers that he needed to visit the Twin Cities because his ex-wife asked him to retrieve his belongings from the house, Knudson said.

"It's deception that he intentionally distorted information to come up with a reason that he would need to be there," Knudson said. "It does show awareness to what he was doing. It also shows that he's capable of conforming his conduct."

Knudson is expected to be the final witness for the prosecution.

Closing arguments in the case could begin as early as Monday. The jury could begin deliberating as early as Tuesday.
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Normal Guilty: Jury rejects Schaffhausen's claim of mental illness in slaying of his three girls

Post by raine1953 on Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:41 pm

HUDSON — If it's true that Aaron Schaffhausen killed his three young daughters last year to cause his ex-wife pain for the rest of his life — he succeeded.
A St. Croix County jury deliberated about 3½ hours Tuesday afternoon before determining he had a mental illness, but that the major depressive disorder didn't prevent him from conforming his conduct according to law. Basically, he was sane at the time he slit the throats of his girls and put their bodies in their beds.
Jessica Schaffhausen, 34, Aaron's ex-wife, was consoled by compassionate friends and relatives as she wept while listening to the jury's verdict.
A short time later, as she left the packed courtroom, she was hounded by television cameras while trying to escape them in a hallway.
Aaron Schaffhausen, 35, of Minot, N.D., earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of attempted arson. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without the eligibility of release. He is expected to be sentenced in late July. He claimed he was not responsible for the crimes because of a mental disease or defect at the time of the slaying.
While the 12-day sanity trial is over, the horror and memory of the loss of three young lives will not soon dissipate.
"This is one step going forward in a long, long process," said Flint Watt of Michigan, Jessica's uncle, adding that the family is working with volunteers and River Falls community members to "memorialize" the girls.
"Aaron's going to be spending a long time thinking about what he's done, particularly to the girls and Jessica, but also, basically, to himself and his family," said Watt, who spoke on behalf of the family.
Overwhelming grief
Wisconsin assistant attorney general Gary Freyberg, lead prosecutor in the case, admitted a sense of gratification in the jury's ruling but quickly added it would never overshadow the overwhelming grief.
"It doesn't change the loss," he said. "This affects the family for the rest of their lives.
"This is one of the worst crimes I've ever had the misfortune to be part of," he added. "He (Schaffhausen) said what he was going to do, and he went out and did it."
Freyberg was referring to several death threats Schaffhausen made against his ex-wife, her family members and others between the couple's divorce on Jan. 9, 2012, and his killing the girls July 10, the first day she would have been legally free to remarry.
Mental illness claimed
Defense attorney John Kucinski tried to prove Schaffhausen suffered from a rare mental illness "deep-rooted in dependency." Kucinski said it was the only solution to why Schaffhausen would have killed the girls he loved, adding that he didn't believe Schaffhausen killed the girls simply to cause Jessica pain.
In his closing argument, Kucinski told the jury that if Schaffhausen had a goal, would it be "to kill the kids, make Jessica suffer and spend the rest of my life in jail; that will make me happy?"
Kucinski, who said he plans to appeal, mentioned several appellate issues, including two from rulings made during jury deliberations. The jury wanted to view reports by three mental health experts who examined Schaffhausen, but St. Croix County Judge Howard Cameron denied the request.
"I think there was some error; the error is that the judge gave this instruction on motive, which isn't in the jury instruction at all, and led a jury to believe that some motive oversees a mental illness," Kucinski said. "I think that's a problem.
"The second major problem is the jury wanted to see the experts' reports because it's a complicated case," he added, saying he believes a different verdict was likely if the jury is allowed to see the reports.
"They (jury) wanted them because (Dr. J. Reid) Melloy's was what they had to understand," Kucinski said, referring to Melloy's analysis that Schaffhausen suffered from a unique mental illness.
Freyberg responded: "The judge answered them (jury's questions) in a way he (Kucinski) didn't like," adding that the judge told the jury to rely on their collective memories.
"I'm very happy that the jury saw the absolute truth of this case," Freyberg said. "From the beginning, we felt very strongly that the evidence showed he was guilty beyond any doubt and sane beyond any doubt.
"It was clear from the evidence that he suffered from depression, and it was pretty clear to me that his depression had nothing to do with what happened," Freyberg added.
Girls killed at home
Schaffhausen killed Amara, 11, Sophie, 8, and Cecilia, 5, at the River Falls home the girls shared with Jessica.
Schaffhausen told examiners that he choked Cecilia, and when the other two girls went upstairs to check on her, he grabbed a kitchen knife and cut their throats in one room. Massive amounts of blood were found in one room, and evidence indicated Schaffhausen changed clothes, attempted to blow up the house, and discarded evidence before calling his wife and saying the children were dead and she could come home.
The murder weapon was never found, and prosecutors outlined a number of inconsistencies in Schaffhausen's accounts.
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Post by Wrapitup on Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:37 am


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Post by Wrapitup on Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:39 am


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Normal Sentencing Date Set for Schaffhausen, Defense Plans Appeal

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:44 am

A sentencing date has been set for a father who admitted to killing his three daughters in River Falls, Wis.

The sentencing date for Aaron Schaffhausen was set for July 15 at 1 p.m.

After more than three hours of deliberations on April 16, a jury found Schaffhausen had a mental disease or defect during the killings of 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie, and 5-year-old Cecilia.

But Schaffhausen didn't lack the substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to abide by the law, the jury ruled. The ruling rejected Schaffhausen's insanity defense.

The verdict convicts Schaffhausen of three counts of first-degree homicide and a charge of an attempted arson.

Schaffhausen will likely be sentenced to life in prison. He could be eligible for parole after 20 years served.

The defense said they plan to appeal the verdict.

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Normal Schaffhausen Mom Gives 1st TV Interview On Triple Murder

Post by raine1953 on Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:49 pm

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – July 10 will mark the one-year anniversary of the murders of the three Schaffhausen girls.

On Tuesday, the girls’ mother, Jessica Schaffhausen, spoke out in her first television interview about her efforts to raise money for a playground to honor the girls’ memory.

“I think this park gives everyone the focus they need,” Schaffhausen said.

She said that within days of the murders of 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecelia, family members had an idea that a memorial playground would be a great way celebrate the girls’ short lives.
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Normal Analysis: Appeal issues likely following killer's sentencing this

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:44 am

Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013 10:30 pm
By Chuck Rupnow Leader-Telegram staff

HUDSON — It seems almost incomprehensible that Aaron Schaffhausen, who brutally murdered his three daughters a year ago Wednesday, would soon be sentenced to anything other than life in prison without the eligibility of release.

He admitted to slashing the girls’ throats, placing them individually in their beds, covering most of their bodies to conceal the wounds and then calling their mother, his ex-wife.

A St. Croix County jury ruled Schaffhausen suffered from a major depressive disorder, but that it didn’t prevent him from conforming his conduct according to law. Basically, he was sane at the time he slaughtered his daughters.

And why? Was it revenge because his ex-wife was dating and disengaging from Schaffhausen? Did he pick July 10 because it was the first day she was legally free to remarry? Did he hope he could have lured his ex-wife to the house for more death?

Only one person knows.

Defense attorney John Kucinski, who suggests he has a number of appellate issues once sentencing is complete, told me he doesn’t expect Schaffhausen to say anything when sentenced by Judge Howard Cameron on July 15.

Would it make any difference?

"I don’t think people understand what was going on, so why would they understand anything he said (at sentencing)?" Kucinski said, adding that he hasn’t seen the pre-sentence investigation Cameron ordered after the jury ruled in April that Schaffhausen basically understood what he was doing.

Schaffhausen, 35, formerly of Minot, N.D., has not cooperated with mental health experts and has not cooperated with the reporter conducting the pre-sentence investigation.

Kucinski believes Schaffhausen would best be served by receiving mental health treatment before going to prison. That’s not going to happen.

"The verdict found him mentally ill, but that he was still able to conform his conduct. If they had not found him mentally ill at the time, that might be something, but they did," Kucinski said. "Able to conform, that’s pretty high standards, plus the jury didn’t understand anything anyway." GMAB!!

Kucinski indicates an appeal issue may be Cameron not allowing the jury to review reports by three mental health examiners, including one from Dr. J. Reid Melloy, who said Schaffhausen suffered from a unique, dependency-based mental illness. Melloy believes Schaffhausen’s ex-wife served him, partially, in a motherly capacity. BS eyerolling 

"You tell them (jury), especially in a complicated homicide, that they can’t read the reports," Kucinski said. "Are they going to memorize this stuff that it took a guy 30 years to learn?"

Kucinski declined to reveal what he will recommend at sentencing, but he admitted the "best case is the minimum, life with no parole date, which means at least 20 years in prison. But he’s going to be a high-profile guy, so like all the other high-profile guys, he’s not going to get out in 20, is he?"

Schaffhausen’s mother, Suzanne Allen of Bloomington, Minn., in a letter to Cameron, said she believes it’s best for her son to be treated at a secure mental health institution instead of being sent to prison, where she fears he may be killed.

In her June 8 letter, Allen mentions the murdered girls, saying, had they known about his mental illness and because they loved him, they "would have voted differently" than the jury.
Huh?

"He needs time to comprehend the damage he has caused and also time to heal himself," she added.

Well, he’ll certainly get plenty of that.

There certainly was plenty of evidence to suggest Schaffhausen planned the murders, at times talking openly about it.

"What looks like planning is in fact a symptom of disease," Allen wrote, referring again to Melloy’s belief. She adds: the jury "ruled in a way they thought would give the most justice" to the girls.
Justice. So much goes into that word. Opinions of Cameron’s sentence will likely greatly differ on the two sides of the courtroom.

Prosecutors have declined to comment on the sentencing hearing, and it’s expected a family member will issue a statement on behalf of Jessica Schaffhausen, the ex-wife, and her family.

Court officials believe an overflow crowd will attend the hearing, which again will be on high security alert.

Before the 12-day sanity trial, Schaffhausen pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and a count of attempted arson. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without the eligibility of release.

He killed his daughters, Amara, 11, Sophie, 8, and Cecilia, 5, at the River Falls home the girls shared with their mother.

Schaffhausen told examiners that he choked Cecilia, and when the other two girls went upstairs to check on her, he cut all their throats in one room. Massive amounts of blood were found in one room and evidence indicated Schaffhausen changed clothes, tried to blow up the house, discarded evidence, called his wife and said the girls were dead and she could come home. He later turned himself in to police.

There are many prongs to the whole tragic event, but the major issue has to be the enormous, incomprehensible loss of three young lives.

In hindsight, were there warning signs? Were there things people could have done? Maybe.

That doesn’t change history. You can’t always stop people from doing bad things as evidenced by lengthy court dockets and overcrowded prisons and jails.

Actions have consequences, and expect Schaffhausen’s consequence to be life (in prison).

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Normal Prosecutors advise life without parole for Schaffhausen

Post by raine1953 on Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:22 pm

HUDSON - Prosecutors say Aaron Schaffhausen, the man who murdered his three daughters a year ago today, should be sentenced to life in prison without the eligibility of release.
Schaffhausen, 35, of Minot, N.D., pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and attempted arson. A jury ruled he was mentally ill (depression), but that didn't prevent him from conforming his conduct to law.
Schaffhausen will be sentenced Monday. The minimum sentence is life in prison with the eligibility of release after 20 years.
Assistant Attorney General Gary Freyberg, and St. Croix County Assistant District Attorney Amber Hahn, who prosecuted the case, filed a court brief Tuesday, recommending the maximum penalty, as well as $26,079 in restitution for the victims and an additional $11,263 for witness expenses.
"Here, the defendant murdered three young children, his own children, in cold blood without even a pretense of justification or excuse," the brief said. "The gravity of these crimes is off the scale.
"In this case, the defendant's decision that making (ex-wife) Jessica Schaffhausen suffer was worth strangling and cutting the throats of his own unsuspecting children, is a choice that must be considered the most savage, calculating, and selfish decision a parent can make," and "this defendant is beyond rehabilitation, because his values are beyond redemption," the brief said.
The pre-sentence investigation report also recommends consecutive life sentences without he possibility of extended supervision.
He killed daughters, Amara, 11, Sophie, 8, and Cecilia, 5, at the River Falls home the girls shared with their mother.
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Normal Father of slain girls will be sentenced Monday

Post by raine1953 on Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:26 am

Three young River Falls sisters were killed a year ago. Their father will likely get sentenced Monday to life in prison with no possibility of release.
Phillip and Becky Stotz of Illinois, maternal grandparents of the girls, say they are focusing on a tribute to the girls instead of the sentence.
Aaron Schaffhausen, 35, of Minot, N.D., killed daughters Amara, 11, Sophie, 8, and Cecilia, 5, July 10, 2012, at the River Falls home the girls shared with their mother and Aaron’s ex-wife, Jessica Schaffhausen.
“I have nothing to say at the sentencing,” Becky said in an interview on the anniversary of the murders. “It’s done and we can’t bring them back. I honestly do not think that there is anything in him that’s capable of being sorry about this, so I can’t make him feel guilty.”
Several people are expected to comment before St. Croix County Judge Howard Cameron pronounces the sentence Monday afternoon. Schaffhausen is not expected to comment.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and a count of attempted arson. A jury ruled he suffered from depression at the time but that it didn’t impair him from conforming his actions according to law.
“He’s taken the future away,” Becky said. “The girls spent a great deal of time with us from the time they were born and had spent a whole month with us last year, going back to their home in River Falls only three days before he killed them.
“It had been extremely difficult to come back to the house because everywhere in the house were reminders of the girls,” she added. “They had favorite colors for their bedrooms (red, Amara; purple, Sophie; blue, Cecilia). We had to have them repainted to make it easier to walk in those rooms now.”
The Stotzes say it’s a day-to-day effort to recover from the loss.
“You never get over it,” she said. “This isn’t about one day, one man killing his children. This impacts their mother, us and so many others for the rest of our lives. Who know’s what the future held for them? This all goes way beyond anything you could ever imagine.”
“We lived our whole lives pretty much off the radar until this happened,” said Phillip. “We never knew we had a monster in our midst.”
Schaffhausen reportedly had the Stotzes on a “hit list,” according to police reports.
“He was offering to pay guys to kill us,” Phillip said. “The whole thing is so appalling and atrocious that I can’t even go there. Maybe we should be afraid, but we can’t be. We need to focus on what a major loss the deaths of these girls is and do something for their legacy.”

They are referring to plans for a state-of-the-art playground in River Falls in honor of the girls.
Various fundraising efforts are under way, including a 5k fun run at 8 a.m. at Hoffman Park and a motorcycle ride at 11 a.m., both in River Falls on July 20.
“We love the playground idea to memorialize them,” Becky said. “Such a park would set aside the cruelty of their deaths and make this something positive for the city and people of River Falls.”
“The girls loved parks and to have a playground like this would represent who they were, fun kids who liked to do things for others,” Phillip said. “It’s something that all three of them would have loved to provide for the rest of the world. They were that way.”
The playground may also serve a purpose in another way; that a person contemplating harming a family member or someone else might see it and change their thought, Phillip said.
An overflow crowd of supporters and interested parties is expected at Monday afternoon’s court hearing. Among them will be many people from River Falls who “have become like family to us,” said Becky.
“Phil and I feel like we have another whole family in River Falls with the warmth and love that has been shown to us,” she added. “To see how total strangers have opened their hearts and homes to us has been a blessing.”
Prosecutors say they will recommend the maximum penalty, consecutive life sentences without the possibility of release, while the defense attorney could argue for release of Schaffhausen after 20 years.
“I can’t imagine it would be anything less than the maximum, given what he did,” Becky said. “But we can’t focus on that. All we know is he wrecked so many lives by his selfishness and he’ll have the rest of his life in prison to think about it.
“For Jessica, us and others who loved those girls, it’s one day at a time,” Becky said. “You don’t have much choice.”
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The three Schaffhausen sisters of River Falls, from left, Amara, 11, Cecilia, 5, and Sophie, 8, are shown in this undated photo. The girls’ father, Aaron Schaffhausen, will be sentenced Monday for their murders.
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Normal Aaron Schaffhausen: 3 life sentences, no parole

Post by raine1953 on Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:46 pm

HUDSON, Wis. (KMSP) -
The sentencing hearing for the father who admitted to killing his three daughters in a River Falls, Wis., home last July is finished, putting an end to a trial that shook the small town.

Schaffhausen, 35, was formally sentenced to serve three mandatory consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole at about 3:30 p.m. for the July 10, 2012 murders of his daughters, 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia.

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Normal Slain Wisconsin sisters' artwork goes on sale

Post by raine1953 on Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:51 am

RIVER FALLS, Wis. (AP) — The mother of three young girls killed by their father is selling their artwork to raise money for a playground honoring them.

Aaron Schaffhausen killed his daughters, 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie, and 5-year-old Cecilia, last year in the River Falls home the girls shared with their mother, Jessica Schaffhausen.

Aaron Schaffhausen and Jessica Schaffhausen are divorced. Prosecutors say Aaron Schaffhausen killed the girls in an act of revenge against Jessica. He tried to claim he was insane but was ultimately sentenced in July to life in prison with no chance of parole.

Jessica Schaffhausen is trying to raise money to build a playground dedicated to the girls. Unlimited Play of St. Louis is designing the 7,000-square-foot facility based on the girls' hobbies and interests. The company and Jessica Schaffhausen are expected to discuss the project at a news conference Thursday afternoon at Hoffman Park in River Falls.

The playground won't be cheap; it's expected to cost $550,000. The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reports about $80,000 has already been raised, including $50,000 from a 5-kilometer run-walk in River Falls held last month.

The newspaper reports the next step in the fundraising effort calls for putting more than 100 pieces of the girls' artwork up for sale. The art will be on display at a River Falls art gallery on Friday. They'll be sold through a silent auction that will run through Aug. 21.

"It has been a very emotional experience for the people who framed the art, in part because the mother has wanted to be involved and had to leave and pull herself back together because of the emotion connected to the artwork," said the gallery's owner, Ila June Brown-Pratt. "This will be emotional because anyone who has ever been a parent or taken care of young children will be affected by it."
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Normal Re: Aaron Schaffhausen Murdered Daughters Amara, Sophie & Cecil/Schaffhausen pleads guilty to murders, jury will decide if he was sane/Jury: Guilty BUT SANE of 3 counts 1st degree murder/7.16.13 Judge orders three life sentences to be served consecutively

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