Mom's 911 call: Ex says he killed 3 girls

April 3, 2013 at 8:27 AM
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RIVER FALLS, Wis., April 3 (UPI) -- The grim 911 call in which a River Falls, Wis., woman said her ex-husband told her he killed their children was played on the first day of his sanity trial.

Last week, Aaron Schaffhausen pleaded guilty to the July 10 killings his three daughters in River Falls, Wis., where they lived with their mother. The tape of the 911 call was played during the first day of testimony Tuesday in the St. Croix County Circuit Court trial to determine whether Schaffhausen's mental state when he committed the crimes rendered him not responsible, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Wednesday.

On the call, Jessica Schaffhausen told the dispatcher she hoped her former husband told her the chilling news "to torture me."

The defense must prove that Schaffhausen's mental state made him not responsible for the killings of his daughters, Amara, 11; Sophie, 8; and Cecilia, 5, whose throats were slashed. He also strangled the youngest girl.

During his opening argument Tuesday defense attorney John Kucinski said Schaffhausen suffered from an "extremely rare and complex psychological condition."

Kucinski said his client, who lived in Minot, N.D., at the time of the killings, was in a downward spiral of drinking and depression in the months before the killings and that several people told Schaffhausen he needed psychiatric help, the Pioneer Press said.

The defense attorney also conceded that while his mental health expert found Schaffhausen not guilty by reason of insanity, the state's mental health expert and one appointed by the court did not.

Assistant Wisconsin Attorney General Gary Freyberg countered that evidence will show Schaffhausen was not out of touch with reality and is not legally insane.

"He's just mean to a degree that is almost inconceivable to the rest of us," Freyberg said

The lead prosecutor said the killings were done "out of jealousy, anger, bitterness and revenge" and meant to inflict the most harm possible to Jessica Schaffhausen after their January 2012 divorce, the Pioneer Press said.

"The truth of this case is that man knew exactly what he was doing -- before, during and after," Freyberg said.

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