Judge enters innocent plea for silent SchaffhausenA judge entered innocent pleas yesterday for a man accused of killing his three daughters, and trying to burn down his ex-wife’s house in River Falls where the girls lived.
HUDSON - A judge entered innocent pleas yesterday for a man accused of killing his three daughters, and trying to burn down his ex-wife’s house in River Falls where the girls lived.
35-year-old Aaron Schaffhausen stood mute during his arraignment in Saint Croix County Circuit Court on three homicide charges and a count of arson in the July 10th slayings of Amara, Sophie, and Cecilia Schaffhausen. Judge Howard Cameron did not enter the insanity pleas that prosecutors had expected. That could come later, but public defender John Kucinski says he’s not sure what pleas his client will eventually enter.
A mental health counselor has been visiting Schaffhausen in jail three times a week – but Kucinski said his client has rejected treatment, and he’s exercising his right to remain silent to the counselor. The defense lawyer said Schaffhausen didn’t need care. But county attorney Don Gillen told the judge that the defendant is a suicide risk – and it’s the sheriff’s department’s duty to provide mental health treatment. Judge Cameron said the visits could continue, but Schaffhausen would not have to speak to the counselor. Kucinski said he might appeal that ruling – which would hold up future proceedings on the main charges.
Also, the state said it was withholding about 250 pages of text and phone records and up to 16 disks with autopsy and crime scene photos. Assistant state attorney general Gary Freiberg said there could be emotional harm if those items were made public, but the defense can review the evidence privately. A court hearing on that matter is set for September 20th.