Associated Press, Published August 28 2012
North Dakota man accused of killing kids pleads not guilty
North Dakota construction worker Aaron Schaffhausen faces three homicide counts and an arson charge in the deaths of 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia Schaffhausen.
Online court records show Aaron Schaffhausen’s attorney, public defender John Kucinski, stood mute during an arraignment in St. Croix County Circuit Court Tuesday. Judge Howard C. Cameron entered not guilty pleas for Schaffhausen on all the charges.
Police discovered the girls’ bodies in the River Falls home they shared with their mother last month. They also found an overturned gasoline can in the basement. Schaffhausen and the girls’ mother divorced in January.
The state Justice Department is handling Schaffhausen’s prosecution. Agency attorneys wrote in court filings last week they expected Schaffhausen to plead not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.
DOJ spokeswoman Dana Brueck declined to comment on the arraignment. An attempt to reach Kucinski at the state public defender’s office late Tuesday afternoon was greeted with a recording saying the office had closed and callers could not leave messages.
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