Graphic Crime Photos Showed in Schaffhausen Trial

Updated: 09/18/2013 3:35 PM KSTP.com By: Jennie Olson



Prosecutors called more witnesses to testify in the Aaron Schaffhausen insanity trial Friday.

Schaffhausen admitted to killing his daughters but says he's not responsible for their deaths because of a mental illness. He declined to testify Wednesday in his own defense.

The first witness called to the stand Friday was Stan Winkler with Amtrak. He talked about Schaffhausen's purchase of train tickets around the day of the murders.

Winkler said Schaffhausen bought a one-way return ticket from St. Paul to Minot, N.D., at 6:37 p.m. Monday, July 9, 2012. He said the ticket was for a train that would have left St. Paul at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, which was the day of the killings.     

Larry Ventura, a forensic image specialist, was the second witness for the prosecution Friday. He showed the jury graphic photos of the crime scene. They showed images of the girls' bodies, their bedrooms and pools of blood on the carpet.

Family members on both sides of the case stayed inside the courtroom to see the pictures, and relatives of Jessica Schaffhausen, the mother of the girls, cried quietly.

Aaron Schaffhausen didn't look at any of the photos.

Also on Friday, Anna Sorenson with the Wisconsin State Crime Lab testified about the graphic murder scene she saw and the condition of the girls, and Investigator Charles Golden with the River Falls Police Department testified about how they went about collecting evidence at the scene.

The prosecution called a DNA specialist to talk about where the blood was found, whose it was, and other details of the crime scene when the defense objected, questioning how that information related to Schaffhausen’s mental state.

“This evidence will contribute to a chain of evidence which shows circumstantially that he understood his conduct and was able to conform it,” Lead Prosecutor Gary Freyberg replied. “Taken together, this is all evidence that he understood right from wrong because there's absolutely no reason to conceal or destroy evidence unless you know you've done something wrong,” which is a reference to a testimony from Sorenson that there was blood found on the washing machine and clothes inside.

The first officers to respond to the scene where the three sisters were killed took the stand Thursday. The officers told the jury about finding the bodies of Amara, Sophie and Cecilia last July. Several crime lab technicians also testified about phone records and evidence collected at the scene.

Court has adjourned for the day, and the prosecution is expected to rest its case on Monday. The last witness for the prosecution is expected to be their own medical expert, who will likely take the stand Monday morning. The jury could get the case as early as Tuesday.

Read a timeline of Schaffhausen's activities from July 8-10, 2012, here.

Watch previous coverage of the trial in the video box above.