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Court-appointed psychiatrist: Schaffhausen "depressed, not insane" during murders


ST. CROIX COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - A court-appointed psychiatrist said Aaron Schaffhausen was depressed – but he was not insane when he killed his three young daughters in River Falls last July.

Dr. Ralph Baker examined Schaffhausen on behalf of prosecutors, and he testified Monday at a trial that will determine where Schaffhausen goes to prison, or to a mental institution.

Baker said he spent four hours with the 35-year-old Schaffhausen, and he believes the defendant has a major depression disorder but was not legally insane. The doctor said Schaffhausen described the killings as a, “spur of the moment thing.”

His ex-wife allowed him to meet with the girls privately – and according to the testimony, Schaffhausen gave them money for their piggy banks and talked about taking them to a riverside park. But 5-year-old Cecilia could not find her shoes. And the next thing he knew, he was strangling the girl.

Schaffhausen told the psychiatrist he then went to get a kitchen knife, and cut the girls’ throats. Baker said the defendant then put them in their kids, gave them a kiss, and said “good night.”

Schaffhausen spilled gasoline in the basement, but told Baker he decided against lighting it. He drove around for a while before turning himself into the police.