July 10 will mark the one-year anniversary of the day Aaron Schaffhausen killed his three young daughters (pictured at left) in their River Falls, Wis., home. That four-bedroom house is set to be auctioned off in a sheriff's sale next month, according to a notice from the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office.
The auction will come less than 30 days after Schaffhausen's July 15 scheduled sentencing date, when he's expected to receive three life terms for the crime. Schaffhausen, who lived in North Dakota at the time, cut his girls' throats and then tucked each of them into beds in separate bedrooms of the Morningside Drive home.
"I hope whoever does buy it will know its history so they are not making an uninformed purchase," Jessica Schaffhausen, who divorced Aaron Schaffhausen in January 2011, told AOL Real Estate. "I cannot imagine anyone wanting to live in the house and personally hope, for the good of the community, that it could be donated to the local fire department for practice and then have the lot turned into a community garden that helps support the local food shelf."
Not everyone is willing to live in a home where death or deaths occurred, especially as part of a crime. If your state laws do not require that this has to be revealed, there are ways to find out if a listed home was once a crime scene, as AOL Real Estate has reported. For those who do not mind such a history, the home might be purchased for drastically less than market value.
Aaron Schaffhausen (pictured at left), who was found guilty on three counts of first-degree intentional homicide and attempted arson, stopped paying the mortgage a couple of month's after refinancing the home post-divorce to remove Jessica's name from the original mortgage.
Aaron and Jessica Schaffhausen were divorced in January 2012 with an agreement that she could continue living in the home with the children while paying him rent. AOL Real Estate's review of county property records shows that a quit-claim deed was filed Jan. 19, 2012 to put the home solely in Aaron Schaffhausen's name. A refinanced mortgage of $170,153.25 through Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union was recorded on May 8, 2012. The Schaffhausen's originally purchased the newly built corner home in October 2006 from Lennar subsidiary U.S. Home Corp., for $247,990. The original mortgage was for $185,900 through Universal American Mortgage Co., the financial services subsidiary of Lennar Corp.
Aaron Schaffhausen's attempt to sell the 2,320-square-foot home about four months after the murders was thwarted when his former wife contacted the listing agency via an email she later copied to Facebook, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Jessica Schaffhausen wrote:
What you may not have thought through in accepting this job is that if you do succeed in selling it that you will allow their murderer to not only benefit financially but will also disqualify him for the public defender he is using which would mean that the entire criminal trial process would be set back drastically.
I understand that a sale is a sale for you but I needed to let you know exactly what you are contributing to and if you can still sleep at night with that knowledge then by all means move forward as your conscience dictates.
A grieving mother hoping for some kind of justice,
After some further investigation, Edina Realty chose to cancel the $229,900 listing, however some Multiple Listing Service affiliates still have the listing details archived.
"At this point the house is in foreclosure and Aaron will not be able to benefit from its sale at all, so I no longer have any qualms about it being sold," Jessica told AOL Real Estate in an email.
Before being removed, the listing stated:
Kitchen bar open to family room to enjoy the cozy fireplace. Sliding glass door open to the deck facing south. Great location on the edge of the city and overlooks the country side.
The gas fireplace is the same one that Schaffhausen, a home construction worker, turned on in the hope that it would ignite gasoline he spilled in the home so that the house would burn.
The two-story, single-family home has 2.5 baths and is located in a community of about 15,000 people approximately 30 miles east of Minnesota's Twin Cities. The listing photos reveal that the home also has a three-car garage, an unfinished basement and sliding doors from a dining area that lead to a two-tier deck with a pergola. The kitchen has been updated from white appliances to stainless steel.
Police found the three Schaffhausen children -- Amara, 11; Sophie, 8; and Cecilia, 5 -- dead on the scene after their mother called 911 to report she that she received a phone call from her ex saying "You can come home now because I killed the kids."
Jessica Schaffhausen is now trying to raise about $500,000 for a memorial playground at a park not far from the house and the school that the children attended.
At least two homes on the same Morningside Avenue block were on the market this past year. One just sold June 24 for $250,000, $100 above list price, after about 280 days on the market. Re/Max Results listing agent Lonnie Larson tells AOL Real Estate that the sold price included $5,000 in closing costs. He adds that he has not seen the inside of the Schaffhausen home, but that it is a very nice development and that the market overall in River Falls is good. However, the other four-bedroom home on that street dropped its price a third time to $214,900 in May from an original list price of $239,900, but is currently on hold. That agent, Laurie Larsen, tells AOL Real Estate that the sellers relocated and rented it out, but do still hope to sell it. Larsen sees no reason why the home will not sell at fair market value.
Would you purchase a murder home? Do you think Jessica Schaffhausen was right to stop the listing agent from selling the home? Should the lot become a community garden? Tell us in the comments.