At the start of testimony Wednesday, defense attorney John Kucinski told the court they were resting their case, having decided against Aaron Schaffhausen taking the stand.
Unlike typical trials, where the prosecution presents their side first, in this type of trial they go second.
Since Schaffhausen pled guilty to murdering his three daughters last summer, the first phase of the trial wasn't needed, skipping directly to the second phase, determining whether or not he was responsible because of a mental defect.
In legal words, it's "unable to conform his actions to the confines of the law." In other words, insane.
The prosecution's first witness, Lisbeth Danielson, a neighbor of the Schaffhausen's in River Falls, testified she saw little interaction between Aaron and his daughters, especially towards the end of their marriage, and that the girls would often come to their house.
"Is that okay that the girls would come over to play?" she was asked.
"It was, but it would just appear that no one else would play with them," she said.
At these times, Jessica Schaffhausen was at work, while Aaron was unemployed, often spending all day playing video games.
Josh Flanders, who dated Jessica Schaffhausen in late 2011 and early 2012, during the time the Schaffhausens were going through their divorce, testified about Facebook messages and phone calls from Aaron.
"He said things like bad things are going to happen to you and you should watch your back," Flanders testified.
His mother, Judith Flanders, testified just before him. She told the jury about phone calls she received from Aaron at her home also threatening Josh.
"To the best of my memory, he said if I don't want to see my son's life shortened.. ta da, ta da, ta da," she said, choosing to censor the rest of the sentence.
She'd already said in testimony the entire quote, in essence that Josh needed to end his relationship with Jessica.
It's unclear just how long the prosecution will take for their side of the case. Their original witness list had more than 100 people on it, but that was before Schaffhausen's guilty plea made the first phase of the trial unnecessary.
This is the second week of the sanity trial and the seventh day of testimony.
WJBK-TV | Fox 2
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