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HUDSON, Wis. - Hours of negotiations between prosecutors and defense attorneys for accused murdererAaron Schaffhausen Wednesday morningdid not end in a change of plea or a plea agreement, but the judge in the case kept the door open fora change Thursday.

St. Croix County Circuit Judge Howard Cameron said the two sides would file briefs on the matter and he set another hearing for Thursday.

Defense attorney John Kucinski had said Schaffhausen might change his plea at Wednesday's pretrial hearing. Schaffhausen has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect in the murders of his three daughters last summer.

Kucinski had told some media outlets that Schaffhausen might change his plea to guilty, admitting his role in the deaths of his daughters, but would continue to claim insanity. That would mean that jurors would concentrate on determining Schaffhausen's state of mind when the murders were committed.

Additionally, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that assistant state attorney general Gary Freyberg on Tuesday filed a notice in St. Croix County Court of a "plea agreement" that is expected to be discussed today during a motions hearing.

Schaffhausen is charged with three counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the July 10 deaths of his daughters, 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia.

The sisters werekilled with a sharp objectat their River Falls home, and investigators say Schaffhausen then tried to set the house on fire.

In January, Schaffhausen added a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

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