Jury: Wisconsin girl mentally ill in stabbing of classmate


WAUKESHA, Wis. — A Wisconsin girl who admitted to participating in the stabbing of a classmate to please horror character Slender Man will avoid prison after a jury determined Friday that she was mentally ill at the time of the attack.

Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser lured classmate Payton Leutner into the woods at a park in Waukesha, a Milwaukee suburb, in 2014. Geyser stabbed Leutner 19 times while Weier urged her on, according to investigators. A passing bicyclist found Leutner, who barely survived her wounds. All three girls were 12 at the time.

Both Weier and Geyser told detectives they felt they had to kill Leutner to become Slender Man’s “proxies,” or servants, and protect their families from the demon’s wrath.

Weier, now 15, pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree intentional homicide in a deal with prosecutors in August. But she claims she was mentally ill during the attack and not responsible for her actions, in a bid to be sent to a mental institution rather than prison. A plea agreement before trial called for her to spend at least three years in a mental hospital if judged mentally ill, and 10 years in prison if not.

The jury’s verdict came after some 11 hours of deliberations, and about an hour after it had appeared to reach a verdict in Weier’s favor only to see it rejected by Judge Michael Bohren.

Though that first verdict wasn’t read in court, defense attorney Maura McMahon said 10 of 12 jurors — the minimum required by law — voted Weier was mentally ill. On a second question that jurors had to decide — whether she was criminally responsible for her actions — 10 jurors also voted she was not.

But it wasn’t the same 10 on both questions, according to McMahon. Bohren ordered the jury to resume deliberations.

In closing arguments, McMahon told the jury that Weier was lonely, depressed and descended into “madness” that warranted a mental hospital rather than prison.

McMahon said Weier’s unhappiness stemmed from her divorce, and she latched onto Geyser.

Together they became obsessed with Slender Man, developing a condition called shared delusional disorder, McMahon said. Weier believed Slender Man could read her mind as well as teleport and would kill her or her family if she talked about him, she said.

“This sounds crazy, because it is,” McMahon said. “This was a real being to this child and she needed to protect those around her. At 12 years old, she had no way to protect herself from (Slender Man) except for Morgan’s…



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