UPDATE: Mom of Slain Girls Relieved Legal Process is Done

By: Associated Press/ CBS New
By: Associated Press/ CBS New

UPDATED: Tues 9:13 AM, Jul 16, 2013

RIVER FALLS, Wis. (AP) -- The mother of three young girls killed by their father says she's relieved he has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Jessica Schaffhausen tells KSTP-TV she feels safer and more confident now that her ex-husband, Aaron Schaffhausen, has been sentenced to prison with no chance of parole.

Aaron Schaffhausen admitted killing 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia at their River Falls home in July 2012 to hurt his ex-wife, but argued he had a mental defect that kept him from knowing it was wrong. A jury found he was sane.

Jessica Schaffhausen says that now she can forget about her ex-husband and focus on living her life to honor her daughters.

ORIGINAL STORY: Mon 5:34 PM, Jul 15, 2013

HUDSON, Wis. (WCCO/AP) – The man who killed his three daughters in their River Falls, Wis. home was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences behind bars on Monday afternoon with no parole.

The sentencing hearing for Aaron Schaffhausen was held in Hudson more than one year since he killed 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia.

St. Croix County Circuit Judge Howard Cameron said he didn’t believe Schaffhausen could be helped and that the sentencing had to have the public’s best interest and safety in mind.

“I don’t think you can be rehabilitated at this point and time,” he said.

Schaffhausen remained emotionless, blankly staring ahead as the sentencing was read. Before being sentenced, the judge asked if he had anything to say and Schaffhausen shook his head, “no.”

Life sentences were mandatory in each girl’s death, but Schaffhausen had the prospect of supervised release after at least 20 years in prison. That was rejected by Judge Cameron.

Schaffhausen pleaded guilty to killing his three daughters earlier this year to get back at his ex-wife, but his attorneys tried to convince a jury, back in April, that Schaffhausen was insane at the time of the crime.

Jurors found he had a mental defect, but knew the killings were wrong.

The insanity trial lasted two weeks with testimony from medical experts, the girls’ mother and the babysitter.

On Monday, several of Schaffhausen’s family members made emotional statements to the judge — some pushing for the maximum punishment and others for leniency on his behalf.

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