UPDATE: July Sentencing for Dad who Killed 3 Children

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

UPDATE: 4/25 at 9:25 a.m.

HUDSON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin judge has set sentencing for July 15 for a man who admitted killing his three daughters in the girls' River Falls home.

Last week a jury found 35-year-old Aaron Schaffhausen was sane when he killed 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia last July.

Although jurors agreed Schaffhausen suffered from a mental defect at the time, they found it did not prevent him from knowing what he did was wrong.

The Star Tribune reports Schaffhausen will be sentenced to prison instead of a mental institution.

Schaffhausen faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison for each daughter's death. The judge could decide to make him eligible for extended supervision after he serves at least 20 years, but could also decide he will get no chance at release.


UPDATE: 4/22 at 9:33 a.m.

RIVER FALLS, Wis. (AP) -- The mother of three young girls killed by their father in River Falls says she tries to focus on the joy her daughters brought to the world.

Jessica Schaffhausen says she tries not to think about how her girls died, but rather how they lived and the personalities that made them unique. She talked to the Star Tribune about her daughters.

Eleven-year-old Amara was a budding scientist who watched MIT lectures online and brought home report cards filled with `As.' Eight-year-old Sophie often had an artist brush in her hand, always messy with paint or chalk. Five-year-old Cecilia loved listening and critiquing music and tried to keep up with her old sisters.

Jessica Schaffhausen says she is grateful for the kindness and support of friends, family and even strangers.

UPDATE: 4/15 at 4:33 p.m.

HUDSON, Wis. (AP) -- A psychiatrist who evaluated a man accused of killing his three daughters testified the father was mentally aware of his criminal actions.

Dr. Erik Knudson testified Monday as the sanity trial for Aaron Schaffhausen entered its third week in St. Croix County Circuit Court.

Knudson, testifying for the prosecution, said that after Schaffhausen killed the girls, he drove around aimlessly, discarding items from his car that could possibly connect him to the crime.

KSTP-TV reports the psychiatrist says Schaffhausen's action shows he was "capable of conforming his conduct."

Aaron Schaffhausen has pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide, but he maintains he's not responsible for killing 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie, and 5-year-old Cecilia because of a mental illness. Jurors will determine his sanity.


UPDATE: 4/2 at 2:20 p.m.

HUDSON, Wis. (AP) -- A prosecutor says a Wisconsin man on trial for killing his three young daughters in July was driven by revenge against his ex-wife.

Gary Freyberg, Wisconsin's assistant attorney general, told jurors Tuesday that Aaron Schaffhausen decided killing the girls was the best way to punish his ex-wife.

The 35-year-old Schaffhausen has admitted killing his daughters -- ages 11, 8 and 5 -- at their home in River Falls, Wis., last July. Schaffhausen is seeking to convince a jury he's not responsible due to mental illness.

Freyberg used his opening statement to reject the idea that Schaffhausen couldn't control his emotions or actions.

Freyberg says Schaffhausen planned the killings, brought the tool he used to cut his daughters' throats with him from North Dakota and tried to get rid of evidence.

ORIGINAL STORY: 3/28 at 2:37 p.m

A North Dakota man accused of killing his three young daughters has pleaded guilty to three charges of first-degree intentional homicide, but is maintaining his insanity claim.

Aaron Schaffhausen entered the guilty plea Thursday afternoon.

Court documents say Aaron Schaffhausen called up his ex-wife when she was at work and asked to visit his girls. When he got to the River Falls home, he let the baby sitter go.

A short time later Jessica Schaffhausen said her ex called her and said, “You can come home now I killed the kids.”

The prosecution is expected to argue that shows Aaron Schaffhausen planned the killings and is sane. The defense said a prosecution expert will testify he is mentally ill.

On March 1, Schaffhausen pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

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