HUDSON, Wis. - A former Wisconsin man will spend the rest of his life behind bars with no chance at parole after he was sentenced Monday for the murders of his three young daughters last summer.
Judge Howard Cameron levied the maximum sentence against Aaron Schaffhausen in St. Croix County Court Monday afternoon. Shaffhausen will serve three consecutive life sentences.
"Each child has to be looked at as an individual," Cameron said.
The defendant sat silently during the proceedings, looking drawn and detached.
Schaffhausen had pleaded guilty in the deaths of the girls but claimed he was insane at the time of the killings. A jury disagreed during his trial in April, finding that the 35-year-old Schaffhausen was sane when he slit the throats of 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia inside their home in River Falls' home.
During victim impact statements that proceeded Monday's sentencing, the sister of the girls' mother repeatedly called Aaron Schaffhausen evil and a coward and said he betrayed his daughters instead of protecting them from evil.
"Aaron became the darkness. the bogeyman, the monster under the bed," said Mary Elizabeth Stotz, aunt to Amara, Sophie and Cecilia. "Their last memory is what an evil killer their dad was."
"Aaron should rot in hell," she concluded.
The girls' grandfather, Phillip Stotz, urged Judge Cameron to give Schaffhausen life without the chance of parole.
"He is a coward of the worst order and has no place in society, ever. He had a chance at a good life, and blew it."
Phillip Stotz also told the judge that his family's safety would be in jeopardy if Aaron Schaffhausen were allowed the chance of parole.
"He has threatened to kill everyone else in our family and has offered others money to do it."
When making his argument for the maximum sentence, prosecutor Gary Freyberg summed it up simply and directly: "The defendant committed multiple homicides of the people who loved him most."
"If given a second chance, he would do it again."
The defendant's parents both stepped up to address the court.
"My hopes for the future ... We forgive ourselves and Aaron. He gets the help he needs to forgive himself," said his father, Roger Schaffhausen.
Schaffhausen's mother, Sue Allen, addressed her son directly, telling him that his daughters did love him, and that they would urge treatment and not punishment for the killings.
"You are a good man. You are a good man who did a horrible thing," she said. "For whatever reasons. You have a good heart."
She also told him that his life has purpose, and that he should ask for forgiveness and also forgive those who failed to love him and help him when it could have made a difference.
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