A Wisconsin man who admitted to killing his three daughters last July was formally sentenced Monday to serve three consecutive life sentences without possibility of parole, the maximum possible punishment.
"I don't think you can be rehabilitated at this point and time," St. Croix County Circuit Judge Howard Cameron told Aaron Schaffhausen, 35.
Schaffhausen confessed to murdering his daughters, 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia on in River Falls July 10, 2012. He was convicted of three counts of first-degree intentional homicide.
"There are evil people and they shouldn’t be in society,” said Eryn Schlotte, cousin to the murdered sisters. “He took away three very special people and they could have changed the world. They could have made it better."
"People say everyone deserves a second chance, but I don’t believe that," Eryn said. "I believe that sometimes people shouldn’t be allowed to smell the fresh air or see the sunshine or feel the rain again."
The girls' Aunt Mary Elizabeth Stotz, sister to Schaffhausen's ex-wife Jessica, read a statement the courtroom.
“Aaron should rot in hell in this world and eternity with his evilness and cowardly ways,” Stotz said. “Aaron is not mentally ill -- just an extremely evil coward.”
Schaffhausen pleaded insanity, but a jury determined he was legally sane at the time of the murders, which occurred during an unsupervised visit to their mother's home.
During the trial, prosecutors said Schaffhausen was angry with his ex-wife for leaving him and refusing to take him back, choosing the "satisfaction of revenge over the satisfaction of being a father."
Defense attorneys argued Schaffhausen was legally insane at the time of the killings, on expert testimony claiming he suffered from major depressive disorder and personality disorder, which resulted in a lack of "substantial capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law."
Psychologist J. Reid Meloy also said Schaffhausen may suffer from a condition called catathymia, which narrows the killer's decisions to homicide, suicide or both.
At Monday's sentencing, Schaffhausen's relatives parents and relatives said those around him deserve a share of the blame.
"He desperately needed intervention and none came,” his aunt, Patti Fix said. “No one.”
His father, Roger, said the family should have reached out sooner.
"I believe that Aaron loved those girls and that those girls loved him," Roger Schaffhausen said.
"You are a good man who did a horrible thing for whatever reasons," his mother, Sue Allen added. "You have a good heart."