WAUKESHA, Wis. (CN) – Attorneys for one of the teens who blames her attempted murder of a classmate on inspiration by the fictional boogeyman Slenderman fought Monday to have her trial heard this fall by a sequestered jury.
Judge Michael Bohren weighed the motion this morning at a hearing for 15-year-old Morgan Geyser, who is being tried as an adult in Waukesha County Circuit Court.
Though the case is high profile in the area, Bohren noted that there is a high threshold to show that Geyser could not get a fair jury in Waukesha.
“The public reporting has been factual and there hasn’t been much biased reporting,” Bohren told the court. “I am satisfied with the reporting,” the judge added, saying it has neither “been prejudicial or inflammable.”
Bohren said one factor weighing in favor of sequestration is the possibility that third parties “try to make a push to sway the jury.”
Geyser, who has been held without bail since her arrest in 2014, attended her 9 a.m. hearing wearing a teal, long-sleeved shirt, dark-wash jeans and black shoes. Her short brown hair was down and she wore glasses.
“Morgan is doing well,” defense attorney Donna Kuchler said in an interview after the hearing.
“It’s hard to get a sequestered jury but we hope we will win.”
Along with her former classmate Anissa Weier, Geyser has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to the attempted first-degree intentional homicide charges she faces.
The girls were arrested on May 31, 2014, hours after trying to kill Payton Leutner in the woods outside Geyser’s house where the girls, all 12, had just had a sleepover.
Leutner survived the attack after a bicyclist found her crawling out of the woods with 19 stab wounds.
Geyser and Weier, who are being tried separately, have admitted that they planned the murder for months, believing it would win them entry to the home of Slenderman, a fictional character they believed had a mansion Nicolet National Forest.
Psychologists who have been treating the girls in pretrial incarceration have testified that Geyser is schizophrenic, unable to separate fact and fiction, like the characters from the Harry Potter series she counts as friends.
Weier’s attorneys meanwhile have painted their client as a fearful participant to a plot orchestrated by Geyser.
The government’s evidence against the girls includes video confessions that neither defense team has managed to exclude from the trial.
Judge Bohren plans to decide Geyser’s sequestration motion by the end of the week.
Weier is moving for a sequestered jury as well and for change of venue. Judge Bohren scheduled these motions for a hearing on July 24.
At a 1 p.m. status conference Monday, Weier wore a black cardigan over a neon-yellow shirt and a long skirt with a neon yellow and black pattern. She wore her brown hair in long waves down her back and glasses.
“She’s working hard in school,” Weier’s attorney Maura McMahon said in an interview after the hearing. “She’s meeting with the counselor that her parents were able to set up for her… and just trying to maintain.”
Weier’s jury trial is set for Sept. 11 and Geyser’s on Oct. 16. Both met with their families at a local juvenile detention center following their court appearances.