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Prosecutors expect not guilty plea in Wis. deaths

Aaron Schaffhausen, a construction worker who is accused of killing his three daughters, sits in a St. Croix County courtroom for a preliminary hearing July 24. (AP Photo/Star Tribune, Richard Sennott)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Prosecutors anticipate a North Dakota man accused of killing his three daughters will plead not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

Aaron Schaffhausen faces three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of attempted arson in the deaths of his daughters, 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia. Police found the girls dead in their River Falls home last month.

Assistant Attorney General Gary Freyberg wrote in court filings that he believes Schaffhausen will enter a not guilty plea by reason of mental disease or defect when he’s arraigned next week.

Schaffhausen’s attorney, John Kucinski, told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram newspaper several weeks ago that he plans to show Schaffhausen was delusional and depressed before the slayings. He declined to comment when reached by telephone Thursday.

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