Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Wisconsin father accused of killing his three young daughters has pleaded guilty to three charges of first-degree intentional homicide, but is maintaining his insanity claim.
On Thursday afternoon, Aaron Schaffhausen once again showed no emotion in court as he admitted to the stabbing deaths of his three young daughters.
After he raised his manacled hand and swore to tell the truth, the Judge asked what his pleas were in the deaths of 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia. He responded, “guilty.”
The exception to Schaffhausen’s one-word answers came when he was asked about whether he had received any mental health treatment in jail.
“I would have like to have treatment, but it would have been used by the prosecution,” said Schaffhausen.
Prosecutor Gary Freyberg recited some of the evidence against Schaffhausen, including blood found on his clothes, saying the blood on his shorts was from Amara and Sophie and the blood on his socks from Sophie.
Some in the courtroom, including the girls’ mother, Jessica Schaffhausen, cried softly as these details were revealed. Still, Schaffhausen was emotionless. His attorney says he does feel remorse.
“He feels a lot of remorse. He is depressed. He has been depressed for a long time. He’s on suicide watch,” said Defense Attorney John Kucinski.
Court documents say 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 said he called her and said, “You can come home now .I killed the kids.”
Police later found his daughters dead in their beds.
Prosecutors say Schaffhausen killed his daughters to get back at Jessica because of their divorce and he thought she was seeing another man.
Now, the next step is what amounts to a civil trial to determine if Schaffhausen is sane or insane. Jury selection will begin Monday.
The burden of proof is on the defense to prove insanity and that’s not beyond a reasonable doubt. They just have to prove that according to the majority of the evidence, he is insane and it does not have to be unanimous.