Schaffhausen to now plead insanityThe man accused of killing his three young daughters in River Falls last July now pleads insanity.
The man accused of killing his three young daughters in River Falls last July now pleads insanity. In a court filing yesterday, 35-year-old Aaron Schaffhausen entered pleas of innocent by reason of mental disease to three homicide counts and attempted arson. Defense lawyer John Kucinski told the Saint Paul Pioneer Press he felt pressured by the judge and prosecutors to enter the insanity plea. Kucinski said it was premature. He said he does not believe there’s enough evidence to convict Schaffhausen and send him to prison. But the defense lawyer does believe there’s enough evidence for an insanity verdict – which could send Schaffhausen to a mental institution, possibly for the rest of his life. A hearing is scheduled this morning in Saint Croix County Circuit Court on pre-trial requests – including one by the defense to get a jury from outside the region, due to heavy pre-trial publicity. A nearly month-long trial is scheduled for April. Authorities said Schaffhausen divorced his wife a year ago, moved to North Dakota, then returned to River Falls and slashed the girls’ necks while visiting them alone. One girl was also strangled. Investigators said Schaffhausen later called his wife to say he killed 11-year-old Amara, eight-year-old Sophie, and five-year-old Cecilia. He turned himself into police later that day. The state claims that Schaffhausen was out to hurt his ex-wife, but his lawyer disputes that. Kucinski said he never did anything for revenge – and hurting her was quote, “the farthest thing from his mind.”