Jessica Schaffhausen: I owe it to my daughters to keep going


Jessica Schaffhausen says she tries not to think about her ex-husband, focusing instead on her memories of their three daughters.

Schaffhausen spoke to the Star Tribune in the first interviews since her ex-husband, Aaron Schaffhausen, killed the 11, 8, and 5-year-old girls in their River Falls, Wisc., home last summer.

In explaining how she finds the courage to face life after their loss, Jessica Schaffhausen says the girls would not want her to give up and she owes it to them to keep going.

She described to the newspaper how 11-year-old Amara was an aspiring scientist who brought home straight-A report cards and sometimes watched lectures by MIT professors online ... how 8-year-old Sophie was a budding artist who often wore the paint and chalk of her drawings and felt no need to gain the approval of others ... and how 5-year-old Cecilia loved to hold kittens and had taken on the role of peacemaker at her day care.

Her remarks were published less than a week after a jury rejected Aaron Schaffhausen's argument that, while he committed the murders, he was not responsible for them because of mental illness. The decision means he will be sentenced to life in prison, rather than time in a psychiatric hospital.

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The babysitter who had been with the three River Falls girls the day they were killed said in court that she had no suspicion that their father might harm them, KSTP reports. And the River Falls police employee who took the call that day from the girls' mother said she was hysterical and "her ex-husband had called her and said that she could come home now, that he had killed the children." A judge ordered that prosectors have sufficient evidence to try Aaron Schaffhausen in the case.

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