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Hearing set for man who allegedly made threats during murder trial

A plea hearing has been set for an Andover, Minn., man accused of threatening prosecutors and witnesses during the Aaron Schaffhausen murder trial.

Joseph A. Rollag, 32, is charged with one felony count of threatening a witness and misdemeanor counts of possession of a switchblade knife, carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct.

He appeared at a status conference July 31, and his bail was reduced from $2,500 cash to $500 cash. A plea hearing was scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 26 before Judge Scott Needham.

On April 5, investigators followed up on a report that Rollag had made threats to harm prosecutors and witnesses at the trial.

According to the original complaint, he was arrested by sheriff's deputies inside the St. Croix County Government Center shortly after he telephoned a psychiatric evaluating nurse and told her he was having, according to the criminal complaint, "vague homicide thoughts."

A deputy who was monitoring the metal detector at the courtroom door said Rollag approached him and insisted on speaking with Schaffhausen’s public defender. Rollag, a friend and former co-worker of Schaffhausen, reportedly said he had to speak to the attorney immediately or “bad things would happen.”

When he called the psychiatric nurse, Rollag was allegedly in the courthouse parking lot, sitting in a Dodge pickup he had bought from Schaffhausen.

On July 15 Schaffhausen was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for killing his young daughters in their River Falls home last year.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.

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