‘Slenderman’ Stabbing Trial on Track in Adult Court

     WAUKESHA, Wis. (CN) – Saying only “serendipity” saved the 12-year-old her two classmates admittedly tried to stab to death, a Wisconsin judge refused Monday to let the teens be tried as children.
     Morgan Geyser and Annisa Weier were 12 years old on May 31, 2014, when they stabbed their friend Payton Leutner 19 times, then left her to die in the forest.
     “This was an attempt to kill someone that would have gone through if not for serendipity,” Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren told a half-full courtroom on Monday.
     Leutner crawled from the forest and recovered in the hospital. The girls, who were picked up shortly after the stabbing, told police they had been planning the crime for months as a way to please “Slenderman,” a horror character popular on the Internet.
     They said they had planned to walk from the scene of the murder to Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin, where they believed Slenderman lived in a mansion. Monday marked the latest, and perhaps final, attempt to get the attempted-homicide charges against the girls sent back to juvenile court from the adult criminal justice system, where it has played out thus far.
     Geyser’s parents sobbed as Judge Bohren issued his order, to which neither girl appeared to react.
     Both have been diagnosed with mental illness, Bohren said. Testimony has revealed that Weier renounced her belief in Slenderman early on, but that Geyser maintains he is real .
     Weier’s doctors have testified that the girl resists medication for her early-onset schizophrenia because she believes it will prevent her from communicating with her “only friends,” which include characters from the “Harry Potter” and “Star Trek” universes.
     Bohren noted that both girls would continue to receive education and start to receive treatment for their various mental disorders until age 18, regardless of whether the venue was juvenile or adult court.
     But “this court has to be concerned with what happens at age 18,” the judge said at Monday’s hearing.
     Transferring the case to the juvenile system would “unduly depreciate” the seriousness of the offense, Bohren said, adding that the girls and the community at large would not be protected if they were released without restriction at age 18.
     In the adult system, there is the possibility of imprisonment or supervised release at 18, he said.
     “There has to be assurance that it doesn’t happen again,” Bohren concluded.
     Both girls will be arraigned on Aug. 21 at 11 a.m.
     Attorney Maura McMahon, who along with Joseph Smith Jr. represents Weier, told reporters after the hearing that they would be considering an appeal.
     Geyser’s attorney, Jeffrey J. Szczewski, left without speaking to reporters.

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