Prosecutors cross-examine Jessica Schaffhausen

7:24 AM, Apr 5, 2013   |    comments
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HUDSON, Wis. - After a morning listening to defense attorneys emphasize Aaron Schaffhausen's mental problems and inconsistencies, jurors in his insanity trial heard about a different side of the defendant.

Under questioning from prosecutors, Jessica Schaffhausen told the jury that in June of 2012 her ex-husband seemed to be in a better frame of mind than he had been in recent months, when he buried her in threatening phone calls, depressing conversations and negativity.

Schaffhausen testified that Aaron had hold her he was doing better, had stopped drinking and was in a better place. He also said he had a account and was trying to move on after their divorce.

He resumed phone calls and skyping with his girls Amara, Sophie and Cecelia. The interactions were "very friendly conversations," according to Jessica, talks about movies, books, music that kind of thing.

Jessica Schaffhausen says that all changed on July 6. Aaron was going to pick up girls in Madison, but he called and got into a fight with Jessica about what he would do with the kids in August when he was supposed to have them for a visit.  She says he never mentioned a trip to the Twin Cities area. 

On July 10 Jessica says she got a text from defendant about girls going to Canada. Around noon Aaron surprised her with a phone call, saying he drove a work van from Minot for service and would take a train back to North Dakota.

Of course, that didn't happen. Aaron Schaffhausen texted his wife that he wanted to stop by the house and visit his daughters. After Jessica gave him permission, Aaron Schaffhausen sent the babysitter home, killed his daughters, then called Jessica and said she could come home because the girls were dead.

"They really wanted to see him. They loved him so much." Jessica Schaffhausen told the courtroom, fighting back tears.

Aaron Schaffhausen's defense team is trying to prove that he was suffering from insanity or a mental defect when he killed his children. Prosecutors are trying to convince jurors that Schaffhausen was simply mean and vengeful after his wife divorced him, and carefully planned the murders of his daughters to get back at her.

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