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Schaffhausen's ex-wife, mother of 3 girls killed takes the stand

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Aaron Schaffhausen's ex-wife and the mother of their three children took the stand Wednesday in the second day of his insanity trial.

Jessica Schaffhausen wept as she was shown photos of her now deceased daughters: 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia.

The judge granted a request by the prosecution that no audio or video recording be taken while Jessica Schaffhausen was on the stand.

According to reports from inside the courtroom, the mother described life with her ex-husband.

Jessica also answered the defense's questions about Aaron Schaffhausen's depression.

Earlier Wednesday, a jury reviewed a three-hour interrogation video following Schaffhausen's arrest on the day of the murder.

KSTP reports Schaffhausen is seen crying at the River Falls police station as he's being advised of his rights.

Schaffhausen remained silent for nearly all three hours until the final minutes of the interrogation.

"I want my girls back," Schaffhausen said.

Schaffhausen, 35, pleaded guilty to the killing his daughters last week. Now, the court is focusing on his state of mind. The jury’s verdict will determine whether he is sentenced to prison or a mental institution.

During opening statements Tuesday, defense attorney John Kucinski says Schaffhausen’s mental illness made him unaware of what he was doing, while prosecutors argue he made a deliberate decision to inflict pain on his ex-wife.

Lead prosecutor Gary Freyberg says Schaffhausen knew exactly what he was doing and made a conscious choice to kill the girls as a way to punish his ex-wife, Jessica.

Freyberg described how Schaffhausen cut the throats of the three girls, then telephoned his wife to tell her he had killed them.

The centerpiece of Tuesday's testimony was the chilling 40-minute recording of Jessica Schaffhausen’s subsequent call to 911. Dispatcher Aileen Splittgerber stayed on the phone with Schaffhausen as the mother drove from her job in St Paul to her home in River Falls.

Live streams of the trial are available on KSTP, KARE 11 and the Star Tribune.

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Related

Babysitter: Schaffhausen 'slightly gruff' but normal the day 3 daughters killed

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.