WAUKESHA, Wis. (CN) – One of the 13-year-olds who blames the fictional character Slenderman for her stabbing of a friend will likely require psychological treatment for the rest of her life, an expert testified Wednesday.
Forensic psychologist Deborah Collins, retained by Morgan Geyser’s defense team, made the prediction in a packed hearing at the Waukesha County courtroom to determine whether the attempted-murder case belongs in juvenile court.
Geyser and co-defendant Annisa Weier were charged as adults for their May 31, 2014, stabbing of Payton Leutner, whom they lured into the woods the morning after a sleepover. All three children were then 12 years old, and Leutner recovered from the 19 stab wounds.
Police picked Weier and Geyser within hours of the stabbing, and the pair were charged with attempted homicide.
Despite evidence that the girls stabbed Leutner to appease Slenderman, an online boogeyman whom they believed had a mansion in Nicolet National Park, a judge deemed the girls competent to stand trial late last year.
The girls told law enforcement and health personnel that they had been planning the stabbing for months, intending to kill Leutner under the belief that Slenderman would make them his “proxies” or otherwise harm their families.
Echoing past court statements, Collins said Geyser still believes in Slenderman and says the “Harry Potter” characters who visit her in the Washington County Juvenile Detention Center are her “only friends.”
Geyser also acts “giddy” at inappropriate times such as when Collins mentions stabbing a person, death or other trauma, Collins testified.
Her assertions and behavior have been consistent across facilities and evaluators, Collins continued, indicating that the girl is not likely “faking” the schizophrenic spectrum disorder with which she has been diagnosed by multiple medical professionals.
Correctional officers testified that Geyser is a well-behaved and creative inmate, if a bit “quirky” – she eats kneeling under her table and feeds ants in her cell.
Donna Bennett, a court-appointed social worker, testified that Geyser had expressed hatred for her father, Matthew Geyser, who was treated for similar mental-illness symptoms in his teens, claiming he had “disrespected” her friends, presumably the fictional characters she claims talk to her.
Sitting in the front row, Matthew Geyser sunk his head into his hands when a correctional officer testified that the man’s image had been ripped out of all the family pictures in the teen’s cell.
While Bennett said the Waukesha County Department of Health and Human Services believes adult court is the best forum to meet Geyser’s needs, Collins urged the court to send the case to juvenile court.
While prison, a possible form of punishment in adult court, exists to confine people, the focus of Geyser’s ongoing placement should be therapy, including possible medication she now strongly resists because she believes it will end her hallucinations, the psychologist testified.
Geyser “does not want the voices to go away,” Collins said. “She does not want her friends to go away.”
The girl would rather face “decades of incarceration” than mental health treatment that included psychotropic medication, Collins added.
Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren said he would issue a decision on whether to send both Weier and Geyser’s case to juvenile court on August 10. The court heard Weier’s case for that relief last month. Geyser’s waiver hearing will continue into Thursday.
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