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Earlier Monday, Schaffhausen’s parents and aunt each testified, describing him as a child with a rough start: a colicky baby, an unaffectionate and impulsive child, a teen who got into trouble with the law.
Schaffhausen’s mother, Sue Allen, a principal at a Catholic elementary school, said her son suffered mental illness “probably his whole childhood.”
Schaffhausen didn’t connect well with adults, including his father, and didn’t have many friends, she said. He was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and hyperactive disorder in third grade. As a teenager, Schaffhausen spent time in juvenile detention for burglary and shoplifting and was expelled from school, his parents testified.
The family members also described Schaffhausen maturing into a good father. Roger Schaffhausen took photos of Aaron sledding and swimming with the girls, eating ice cream and cutting birthday cakes.
“He adored the girls and they loved him,” his mother said.
But they saw a change in him before the killings. Both parents received middle-of-the-night phone calls from him while he was working in North Dakota. His mother called a family meeting and his brothers went to check up on him.
Schaffhausen’s aunt, Patricia Fix, said after hearing about his thoughts of harming his kids from her daughter, she called Schaffhausen’s mother right away, telling her: “You need to get up to North Dakota and have Aaron committed because he’s going to go to Wisconsin and slit the girls’ throats.”
Staff writer Curt Brown contributed to this story.
Pam Louwagie • 612-673-7102