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Father Pleads Guilty in Daughters' Deaths, Claims Insanity - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Father Pleads Guilty in Daughters' Deaths, Claims Insanity

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HUDSON, Wis. (AP) - A man has pleaded guilty to killing his three young daughters at their home in western Wisconsin, but still maintains he shouldn't be held responsible because he was insane.

 Thirty-five-year-old Aaron Schaffhausen changed his plea Thursday after more than a day of legal wrangling about what kind of evidence would be allowed at his trial. He answered yes when the judge asked if he was guilty. 

Jury selection is due to begin Monday in St. Croix County Circuit Court.

The change-in-plea means prosecutors won't have to prove Schaffhausen killed his daughters at their River Falls home last July. The defense will have to prove he had a mental disease or defect, and that he lacked substantial capacity to appreciate that what he did was wrong or couldn't control his impulses.

ORIGINAL STORY

HUDSON, Wis. (AP) - The defense says a North Dakota man accused of killing his three daughters in Wisconsin might admit to the crimes but maintain an insanity claim. Defense attorney John Kucinski says Aaron Schaffhausen might change his plea Wednesday and just have an insanity phase of the trial. Schaffhausen is expected to appear at a hearing today.

His trial is scheduled to begin Monday. The Minot construction worker faces three counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the July 10 deaths of his daughters, 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia. The sisters were killed at their River Falls home.

In January, Schaffhausen added a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Kucinski would not explain why his client might change his plea.

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