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Former co-workers: Schaffhausen talked about killing family

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Day three of Aaron Schaffhausen's insanity trial was filled with emotional testimony from his ex-wife, who divorced Schaffhausen in January 2012. Jurors also heard from two men who worked under Schaffhausen during the months leading up to the murders of his young daughters.

Schaffhausen, 35, pleaded guilty to the killing 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia. Now, a jury will determine if he was sane at the time of the murders.

Schaffhausen's former co-worker and roommate Jarrod Kline was called to the stand Thursday. Kline worked with Schaffhausen in Minot, N.D. and the two hung out as friends.

Kline testified that Schaffhausen would have angry outbursts about his divorce. Kline told jurors that Schaffhausen said he would have no problem killing his family.

Another former co-worker and roommate, Jeremy Michaels, also testified and said Schaffhausen would talk about killing his ex-wife, children and his ex-wife's boyfriend.

Jessica Schaffhausen spent more than five hours describing her ex-husband's actions before he killed their three daughters last summer.

Jessica told jurors her ex-husband was treated for depression and was prescribed an anti-depressant, but eventually stopped taking it. She said Schaffhausen was drinking a lot and would play video games instead of interacting with their children.

KARE 11 reports Jessica said the medication seemed to help his depression for a while, but things got strange when he began to mix the drug Celexa with alcohol. "He was weird, he'd say things really off the wall," she testified.

In November 2011, she began receiving harassing phone calls and messages from Schaffhausen, sometimes he would call her 30 times in a row. She was contemplating divorce, which was finalized in January 2012.

The mother recalled one phone call to her work on March 7, 2012, when Schaffhausen said he "wanted to drive down here and tie me up and pick which child he killed while I watched," the Pioneer Press reported. She added her husband said he wanted her to feel the pain that he felt.

Schaffhausen told her he was having those thoughts several times a day.

Jessica called police and went to the River Falls Police Department to fill out a statement. "I wanted him contained...so I could feel safe," Jessica said.

FOX 9 reported when Jessica was asked if Aaron was ever abusive with his daughters, Jessica said no. "If anything he was just neglectful, shut off," she said.

The defense then questioned Jessica about the phone call she received from Schaffhausen on July 10, 2012, the day of the murders.

“It was one line...you can come home now. I killed the kids,” the Star Tribune reported. She yelled at Schaffhausen and told him it wasn’t funny and that he couldn’t say things like that.

"He made some noise and hung up the phone," she said.

Jessica frantically called 911. "I wanted someone to get there because they could still be alive."

Upon cross-examination by the prosecution, Jessica said her ex-husband seemed to be getting better a month before the murders. According to reports from the courtroom, he told Jessica he stopped drinking and was moving on.

When asked why she allowed Schaffhausen to see his children, she said, "They really missed him and wanted to see him. They loved him so much."

The trial will continue Friday morning.

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