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Schaffhausen May Change Plea In Daughters’ Deaths

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Prosecutors say the River Falls, Wis., man accused of killing his three daughters plans to change his plea to guilty in a Wisconsin court on Wednesday.

But they say Aaron Schaffhausen needs to know that won’t keep certain evidence from being heard.

In a court filing on Tuesday, the lead prosecutor says Schaffhausen wants to skip straight to the part of trial that deals with whether he’s mentally ill.

The prosecutor, Assistant State Attorney General Gary Freyberg, told the judge no deal has been made. But Freyberg won’t object to the plea as long as Schaffhausen knows what it means.

Schaffhausen faces three counts of first-degree intentional homicide, and back on March 1, he had entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. So far in court, much of the discussion over motions dealt with the expert psychiatric testimony that is expected to be presented at trial.

Prior to Schaffhausen’s apparent change in plea, the defense was preparing to argue that he was driven to insanity over the couple’s 2011 breakup and divorce.

The state, however, will try to prove that Schaffhausen killed his three daughters — Cecelia, Sophie and Amara — to get back at his wife.

The girl’s mother, Jessica, may also be called as a witness, but is not likely going to attend the three-week trial.

Jury selection is set to begin on April 1 at the nearby Hudson Country Club. With more than 160 jurors in the prospective pool, the county courthouse lacks sufficient space necessary.

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