Aaron Schaffhausen: Where is Killer Dad Now?

In 2012, the mother of three daughters, Jessica Schaffhausen, had a lot to look forward to with her new partner. But her life turned upside down when she received the horrific news of the demise of all her daughters. This harrowing and unexpected case is covered in Discovery+’s ‘Deadliest Mums & Dads: A Father’s Revenge,’ which provides many intricate details as well as exclusive interviews with Jessica, her family members, and officials who were directly or indirectly involved in the investigation.

Aaron Schaffhausen Killed His Daughters and Confessed to His Ex-Wife

Born to Roger and Susan Allen, Aaron Schaffhausen reportedly had several problems as a little boy, having difficulty connecting with others, and as a result, having very few friends. Even though he grew up in a religious Catholic family, he had many run-ins with the law. But when he found Jessica Lee Stotz and tied the knot with her on May 27, 2000, in Springfield, things seemed to be improving for him. In the following years, the couple gave birth to three beautiful daughters — Amara, Sophie, and Cecilia.

Image Credit: Jessica Lee Peterson/Facebook

Over the next decade, the marriage between Aaron and Jessica gradually started deteriorating. So, on August 26, 2011, they filed for divorce, reportedly on mutual terms. In January 2012, their divorce was finalized. Although they had joint custody of their daughters, it was Jessica who won the physical custody. While she lived with them in a River Falls house, he resided in Minot, North Dakota. Soon, Jessica managed to move on from her marriage and began dating Matthew Peterson, whom she met online in June 2012. When Aaron learned about it, he was enraged that his ex-wife was already romantically involved with a new guy.

Soon, on the fateful day of July 10, 2012, Aaron asked Jessica to allow him to see Amara, Sophie, and Cecilia. She told him that she had plans later that evening and that the babysitter had been taking care of the kids. Being considerate, Jessica permitted him but said that he should leave before she reached home. Little did she know that Aaron had something sinister and totally unexpected planned for their daughters. So, when he arrived at her house, the babysitter left the children under the care of their father. Now that nobody else was there in the house, Aaron gave in to his frustration related to the divorce and Jessica’s new partner and took it out on his three innocent daughters.

He reportedly slit the throats of all of them — 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie, and 5-year-old Cecilia. After committing the gruesome deed, Aaron called Jessica and told her, “You can come home now, I killed the kids.” In a state of panic, Jessica called 911 and informed them of the situation. When the police arrived at her residence, they found the three girls tucked inside their beds while their throats were slit. They also found signs of strangulation on Cecilia’s body. Moreover, he reportedly planned to set the house on fire, seemingly to burn all the evidence against him, as they discovered gasoline poured onto the ground.

Following the tragedy, Aaron was arrested for three murders and attempted arson and was held at a River Falls police station. Aaron’s intention of killing his daughters was not spontaneous. In fact, he had opened up about his desire to do so to several people in the previous months. For instance, Jessica testified that he had called her from Minot in March 2012 and expressed his desire to drive down to her place, tie her up, and make her watch as he killed their daughters in front of her eyes. Furthermore, he threatened to kill Matthew as well.

Aaron Schaffhausen is Serving His Life Sentence Behind Bars Today

In April 2013, the trial of Aaron Schaffhausen commenced, where he pleaded guilty to three murder charges and one attempted arson charge. However, he argued that he wasn’t fully responsible for the massacre because he suffered from a mental illness. During the trial, his father, Roger, also testified in favor of him, claiming that he had a mental illness and he didn’t get the help that he required. Even his defense attorney argued the same in front of the court.

Despite these claims, the jury convicted him of murdering his three daughters for revenge and ordered him to pay more than $25,000 in restitution. About a year later, in July 2013, Aaron was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the same charges. In October 2014, Aaron and his defense attorney filed a notice of appeal but to no avail, as the court upheld his conviction. More than a decade into the tragedy, Jessica (now Lee Peterson) shared her story in her new book ‘Thistles and Thorns,’ which talks about her daughters and the impact of their death.

Jessica talked about her book in a conversation with WEAU, saying, “Losing the girls was definitely devastating, and a lot of what the book is about is not just losing them, but how I made them, to begin with, and where we came from and how things got to that point.” She admitted that the idea of writing the book came right after the tragedy. She added, “I did a tremendous amount of therapy and one of the things my therapist encouraged me to do is write to them, write letters to them, and write down my feelings.”

Jessica ended up giving marriage another try, this time with Matthew Peterson and even gave birth to a couple of kids named Trinity Hope and Flint Wylin Peterson. During the trial, he was kept behind bars in the St. Croix County Jail, before getting transferred to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections in July 2013. Currently, he is being held at Waupun Correctional Institution at 200 South Madison Street in Waupun.

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