UPDATE: Schaffhausen pleads guilty to charges; maintains insanit - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Schaffhausen pleads guilty to charges; maintains insanity plea

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Hudson (KSTP) - A North Dakota man accused of killing his three daughters was back in court Thursday for another hearing, and this time he changed his plea to guilty while maintaining an insanity claim.

Aaron Schaffhausen originally pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect in the last summer's slayings of his daughters in the River Falls, Wis., home where they lived with Schaffhausen's ex-wife.

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

Prosecutors allege Schaffhausen did it to get back at his ex-wife, Jessica, because he was bitter over their divorce and angry because he thought she had begun seeing another man.

Jessica Schaffhausen was in the courtroom Wednesday but took no part in the proceedings. Aaron Schaffhausen, in an orange jail jumpsuit and shackles, sat impassively at the defense table, staring at the table or floor for most of the hearing.

Assistant Attorney General Gary Freyberg, the lead prosecutor, maintained that any concession by Schaffhausen of his guilt should not keep prosecutors from using evidence they have planned to use during that phase. The assistant attorney general wrote that evidence of motive, intent and planning could directly rebut Schaffhausen's claim that mental disease or defect makes him not responsible for his actions.

"If the killings were motivated by revenge, anger, jealousy, etc., they are not the product of a mental disease or defect," he wrote.

According to a criminal complaint, Schaffhausen texted his ex-wife on July 10 to ask for an unscheduled visit with the girls, and she consented. Schaffhausen arrived and sent a babysitter away.

About two hours later, he called his wife and, according to the complaint, told her: "You can come home now because I killed the kids."

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Hudson (WQOW) - Aaron Schaffhausen, charged with killing his three young daughters in River Falls, plead guilty Thursday afternoon in St. Croix County Court to three counts of first degree intentional homicide and one count of arson in the deaths of his daughters last July. He is maintaining that he is guilty by reason of insanity.

Stay tuned to this developing story for more information.

 

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HUDSON - A possible plea bargain from the man accused of killing his three young daughters in River Falls is on hold for at least one more day. 

On Tuesday, we told you Aaron Schaffhausen's lawyer indicated his client might admit to the crimes today, but would still have a jury trial to determine if he was sane at the time.

No plea bargain was reached after a hearing Wednesday in St. Croix County Court, but the judge set another hearing for Thursday. Schaffhausen is charged with murdering his three daughters, ages five, eight, and eleven, at their mother's home in River Falls last July. His trial is set to start Monday.

 

 

 


 

 

HUDSON, Wis. (AP) - The defense says a North Dakota man accused of killing his three daughters in Wisconsin might admit to the crimes but maintain an insanity claim.

Defense attorney John Kucinski tells the Star Tribune that Aaron Schaffhausen might change his plea Wednesday and just have an insanity phase of the trial.

Schaffhausen is expected to appear at a hearing Wednesday. His trial is scheduled to begin Monday.

The Minot, N.D., construction worker faces 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. The sisters were killed at their River Falls home.

In January, Schaffhausen added a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Kucinski would not explain why his client might change his plea.

Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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