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Judge to decide Thursday on moving Aaron Schaffhausen trial

by
A mugshot of Aaron Schaffhausen (Reuters)
A mugshot of Aaron Schaffhausen (Reuters)

ST. CROIX COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - A judge in St. Croix County will decide Thursday whether to move the possible trial of a man accused of killing his three young daughters at his ex-wife’s home in River Falls.

Unless there’s a plea deal, a three-week trial is planned in April for 35-year-old Aaron Schaffhausen, who’s charged with three counts of homicide plus attempted arson.

Circuit Judge Howard Cameron is expected to act on a defense request for a change of venue – which could mean either moving a trial, or bringing in a jury from outside the region. Prosecutors are fighting the change of venue, saying an impartial jury should be able to be selected in St. Croix County.

The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram says the cost of Schaffhausen’s trial could go above $200,000.

Prosecutors have submitted a list of 105 possible witnesses – and defense lawyer John Kucinski says he’ll put 4 or 5 more on the stand.

If a trial’s held in Hudson, officials say the jury would need to be sequestered. Some TV stations have agreed to help pay the costs of wiring a courthouse community room for overflow spectators and reporters.

The clerk of courts’ office expects to spend up to $100,000 if a trial is held in Hudson. Sheriff John Shilts said security for a three-week trial could exceed another $100,000. 

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