HUDSON, Wisconsin - The second week of the Aaron Schaffhausen insanity trial opened with the defendant's parents taking the stand to talk about his troubled childhood and mental issues.
Roger Schaffhausen, age 62, was the first to testify. He described a son who was a difficult baby and a child with issues.
"Aaron was a little more difficult, colicky," Roger Schaffhausen testified. "He had some issues.... in 3rd grade, got very scared and ran out of school."
The defendant's father told jurors that Aaron was bullied in 4th grade, was always considered "the new kid" after the family moved to Silver Bay.
"He was a rebellious teen, belligerent, difficult at home. He had some run-ins with the law wouldn't follow house rules. It was a hard time."
Roger Schaffhausen told the courtroom that Aaron was involved with a skinhead group in high school, stole a gun and brought it to school, and was expelled. He and his father were involved in a physical altercation due to those problems. He was also caught shoplifting and stole money from a neighbor.
Mental illness may run on his wife's side of the family, Roger Schaffhausen testified. Sue Schaffhausen was diagnosed as borderline manic depressive in 1997-98, and was on lithium for a time.
Aaron Schaffhausen's father testified that things got better when Aaron became an adult and got married. He described his son as an active, happy and engaged father. Roger Schaffhausen did not find out about Aaron's marital troubles until August of 2011, when a family camping trip was cancelled.
After Aaron moved to Minot, North Dakota he stopped returning phone calls and communicating with his parents. Roger Schaffhausen described how Aaron was depressed, couldn't sleep and missed his ex-wife Jessica and his daughters desperately.
On one occasion, Roger Schaffhausen testified, Aaron called him and said he wanted to do terrible things to Jessica's boyfriend so she would feel the hurt he was feeling.
Aaron Schaffhausen's mother Sue followed his father on the witness stand. She told jurors that her pregnancy with Aaron was unplanned and that her husband didn't want the child. She said Aaron was a colicky baby, who never showed affection.
She then described how mental illness ran in her family, with her mother, grandmothers and sisters all struggling with it. Sue Schaffhausen described how depressed Aaron became when he and Jessica broke up, talking about him being "exceedingly sad."
Communication between Aaron and his parents became almost non-existent, Sue Schaffhausen said. The last time she heard from him was the Mother's Day before the murders in July.
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