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Jessica Schaffhausen, mother of the three murdered girls, was escorted from court following the verdict.

Jury doesn't buy Schaffhausen insanity defense

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It took a jury a little over three hours to reach a verdict in the case of Aaron Schaffhausen, the father who admitted he killed his three young daughters but said he was insane at the time.

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The jurors said that while they believed Schaffhausen, 35, suffers from mental illness, he knew what he was doing when he murdered his daughters by cutting their throats in their River Falls home in July 2012.

Following the verdict, prosecuting attorney Gary Freyberg told reporters that "the jury got it right." He said the case was one of the hardest he had ever tried, calling the crime scene among the most gruesome he had seen in this career.

"These were a brutal series of crimes...he (Schaffhausen)understood what he was doing. The goal he set for himself was revenge," said Freyberg.

Defense attorney John Kucinski said he planned to appeal the verdict but praised the jury. "They tried to do a good job, they listened and worked hard to put the pieces of this puzzle together."

When asked how his client took the verdict, Kucinski said he was depressed and needed to be somewhere he felt safe following court.

A spokesman for Jessica Schaffhausen, the mother of the three girls and the ex-wife of the defendant said that the verdict was just the first step in a long process of grieving and recovering from this tragedy. Flint Watt said "Aaron is going to be spending a long time thinking about what he has done to Jessica, his girls, to his family and ours. We will continue to grieve and try to find a way to memorialize the girls." He also thanked the community for their support.

Judge Howard Cameron set sentencing for sometime in July following a pre-sentence investigation. Schaffhausen faces life in prison on all three counts of murder. He will be held in St. Croix County Jail until sentencing.

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Meg Heaton
Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
(715) 808-8604
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