Aaron Schaffhausen will go to prison, after a jury refused to buy his claim that he was insane when he killed his three young daughters in River Falls last July.
Saint Croix County jurors deliberated for three-and-a-half hours yesterday, before deciding that Schaffhausen knew what he was doing when he stabbed-and-slashed Amara, Sophie, and Cecilia at the home of his ex-wife. The vote was unanimously, even though only 10 of the 12 jurors needed to agree. Both sides agreed that he suffered from depression. But state prosecutor Gary Freyberg said Schaffhausen planned and executed what he called a “brutal, brutal series of crimes.” Freyberg said he was glad the jury learned quote, “the truth of the case.” Defense lawyer John Kucinski promised to appeal. He said the judge instructed the jury about a motive when it was not relevant. And Kucinski said the judge should not have prevented jurors from letting them see reports from experts while they deliberated. In yesterday’s closing arguments, Freyberg said the 35-year-old Schaffhausen was a manipulator who wanted to punish his ex-wife Jessica in the worst way. Kucinski said Schaffhausen had a deep dependency on Jessica – and it aggravated his mental disease. A date was not immediately set for Schaffhausen’s sentencing. He faces three life terms, but Judge Howard Cameron could set an eligibility date for extended supervision if he chooses