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Schaffhausen jury given conflicting expert viewpoints on his sanity

by
A mugshot of Aaron Schaffhausen (Reuters)
A mugshot of Aaron Schaffhausen (Reuters)

ST. CROIX COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - Jurors in the Aaron Schaffhausen sanity trial have been given conflicting expert viewpoints on whether he was sane when he killed his three daughters in River Falls.

A court-appointed psychologist said on Monday that Schaffhausen was depressed, but his illness did not play a role when he stabbed and slashed the girls at their mothers home last July.

But Tuesday, defense psychologist Reid Meloy of San Diego said the 35-year-old Schaffhausen suffered a much deeper personality disorder in which he had a heavy dependence on his ex-wife. And he tried to shed himself of that dependence by slaying their daughters.

Meloy said he had no doubt that Schaffhausen was not sane when killed the girls, ages 5 through 11. The defense expert said Schaffhausen did believe his actions were wrong – even though he did not have the mental ability to follow the law.

A psychologist also examined the defendant on behalf of the prosecution, but that expert has not testified yet.

Also Wednesday, the defense was expected to decide whether Schaffhausen himself would take the stand. He has admitted to the killings – but the jury must still decide if he was sane. If so, he’ll go to a mental institution. If not, it’s off to prison for three life terms.

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