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Schaffhausen witness was collared with two knives near courtroom

A $50,000 cash bond was set Monday afternoon for a witness who allegedly made vague threats toward witnesses and prosecutors in the Aaron Schaffhausen murder trial, currently underway at Hudson.

Joseph Aaron Rollag, 31, of Andover, Minn., was arrested by sheriff's deputies Friday inside the Government Center shortly after he'd telephoned a psychiatric evaluating nurse and told her he was having, according to the criminal complaint, "vague homicide thoughts."

The nurse subsequently called the St. Croix Dispatch Center, and an officer was sent to the hallway outside the courtroom. There a deputy who was monitoring the metal detector said Rollag had approached him and insisted on speaking with Schaffhausen's attorney.

The deputy escorted Rollag into a conference room where a search subsequently turned up two knives. A third knife was found in his pickup.

Rollag allegedly called the psychiatric nurse from a blue Dodge Dakota pickup that he purchased from Aaron Schaffhausen. Television video aired over the weekend showed deputies searching the truck as it sat in the Government Center parking lot.

Rollag was charged with battery or threat to a witness (a felony), possession of a switchblade knife, carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct -- use of a dangerous weapon.

Rollag appeared by teleconference Monday afternoon before Judge Scott Needham.

Rollag testified in the Schaffhausen trial last week.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.