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Witnesses spot Schaffhausen at St. Paul hotel before he drove back to River Falls

HUDSON - Aaron Schaffhausen spent the night at a hotel in downtown Saint Paul, just hours before he drove to River Falls and killed his three young daughters.

At his sanity trial yesterday, Holiday Inn employees testified that Schaffhausen was reading on the patio of a pub while drinking a Bloody Mary. The bar workers said Schaffhausen was police, but his hands were shaking - and he appeared jittery. Prosecutors brought in the employees to help try-and-prove that the 35-year-old Schaffhausen knew what he was doing when he stabbed-and-slashed his daughters last July. That was almost a year after he and his ex-wife first broke up.

Schaffhausen has admitted to the slayings - but if his jury finds that he was not insane, he'll spend the rest of his life in prison. If he is found insane, Schaffhausen would be sent to a mental institution. The defense was the first to present its case, and it rested yesterday after Schaffhausen decided not to testify.