Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Jury rejects defense contention that Aaron Schaffhausen was insane when he killed his daughters

  • Article by: PAM LOUWAGIE , Star Tribune staff writer
  • Last update: April 17, 2013 - 8:33 AM

Defense attorneys argued that Schaffhausen was a troubled, depressed, mentally diseased man who was trying subconsciously to sever his dependence on his ex-wife. Using a diagnosis from a California forensic psychologist, they contended Schaffhausen suffered “major depression” accompanied by personality traits that caused him to lack the ability to control himself. It resulted in a rare “catathymic homicide,” they said.

Prosecutors argued there were less mysterious reasons: revenge, anger and jealousy.

They argued that Schaffhausen gained his ex-wife’s trust by stopping his threats of violence in the weeks before the crimes.

At the girls’ house that day, he tried to keep most of the house free of blood and tucked his daughters into bed after killing them so that when his ex-wife came home she would get the biggest shock possible, Freyberg argued.

Jessica Schaffhausen said she has gained strength from an outpouring of support.

“I’m really only able to be here because so many people have been so incredibly supportive and kind,” she said. “I know this really evil thing has happened, but all I’ve seen outside of that one act is a lot of good from people.”

Though she didn’t attend most of the trial, Jessica Schaffhausen gave composed testimony on the witness stand during its first week. She said Tuesday she wanted to do her best to make sure the truth came out as accurately as possible and justice was done for her daughters.

“I was doing it for them,” she said.


Staff writers Nicole Norfleet and Elizabeth Flores contributed to this report.

Pam Louwagie • 612-673-7102


  • related content

  • Video: Schaffhausen headed toward prison

    Wednesday April 17, 2013

    After deliberating nearly three and a half hours, a Wisconsin jury concluded Aaron Schaffhausen was mentally ill, but understood...

  • Photo gallery: Schaffhausen trial, Tuesday, April 16

    Tuesday April 16, 2013

    Closing arguments from the defense and prosecution.

  • April 15: Expert witness says Schaffhausen was sane

    Monday April 15, 2013

    A psychiatrist hired by prosecutors said Schaffhausen knew that what he was doing was wrong.

  • April 10: Schaffhausen insane, defense expert testifies

    Friday April 26, 2013

    A mental health expert hired by Aaron Schaffhausen's defense team testified Tuesday that Schaffhausen was insane when he killed his three daughters in July.

  • Aaron Schaffhausen made his way out of court after jurors rejected his insanity defense.

  • Schaffhausen

  • Aaron Schaffhausen entered the courtroom in Hudson, Wis., to hear the ruling. When jurors rejected his insanity defense, he sat still.

  • In closing arguments, prosecutor Gary Freyberg laid out why Aaron Schaffhausen knew killing his three girls was wrong.

  • Aaron Schaffhausen’s father, Roger, was comforted Tuesday night after St. Croix County jurors rejected his son’s insanity defense.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters