Schaffhausen insanity trial: Prosecution begins building case

8:22 AM, Apr 11, 2013   |    comments
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HUDSON, Wis. - The prosecution took the lead Wednesday in the Aaron Schaffhausen insanity trial, calling a former neighbor to testify on what he was like as a person and a father.

Prosecutors began calling witnesses after Aaron Schaffhausen informed the court that he would not be testifying. The judge asked him several times if he would be taking the stand, and the defendant finally said no, speaking into a microphone with a clear, strong voice.

Elizabeth Danielson, a salon consultant from River Falls, told jurors that Aaron was upset about the divorce. "He was not happy about it, he did not want a divorce but he was not surprised that she wanted one."

Aaron Schaffhausen called her after the divorce, Danielson told jurors. "He wanted to know if Jess was dating anybody, he wanted to know where she was at," she testified.

Danielson testified that Schaffhausen asked her to help his oldest daughter Amara with a science project, and also wanted to know if she would check on Jessica, his ex-wife. She says he became angry when she told him no.

The family's former neighbor became emotional when she described how needy the girls were, detailing an incident where Sophie sat with her and wouldn't leave because they missed their dad. Danielson cried as she described texting Schaffhausen and asking him to come home because his girls missed him.

"He wrote that it would be fine without him, that Jess will move to Springfield and will find a new husband and they'll have a new dad," she told the jury.

"I told him to quit feeling so sorry for himself. This had nothing to do with Jess, the kids needed their dad... he told me to piss off and mind my own biz."

Danielson was followed on the stand by Judith Flanders, the mother of Jessica's one-time boyfriend Josh Flanders. She testified that she received three threatening phone calls from Aaron Schaffhausen, who at the time called himself "Frank." During one of those calls, Flanders recalled him saying"If you don't want to see your son's life shortened, he needs to stop (expletive) my wife."

Judith Flanders filed a police report after the threatening calls.

Josh Flanders, Jessica Schaffhausen's former boyfriend, described a similar pattern of threatening messages via Facebook and phone. He told jurors that the threats weren't specific, just ominous messages like "Bad things are going to happen to you, you should watch your back."

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