Jury to weigh girl’s mental health in Slender Man case

Todd Richmond
Associated Press

Madison, Wis. — A jury this week will begin weighing the mental competence of a girl accused in the stabbing of a classmate to please a fictional horror character known as Slender Man.

Jury selection begins Monday in Waukesha in the trial to determine 15-year-old Anissa Weier’s competency. It could take up to two weeks.

Prosecutors allege that Weier and her friend, Morgan Geyser, lured classmate Payton Leutner into a Waukesha park in May 2014 and stabbed her 19 times.

The girls have said it was an effort to please Slender Man and become his servants, or to keep the character from attacking their families. All three girls were 12 years old at the time.

Weier and Geyser left Leutner for dead and starting walking to the Nicolet National Forest, where they hoped to join Slender Man in his mansion. A passing bicyclist found Leutner, who survived, and Weier and Geyser were captured later that day.

Prosecutors charged both girls with being a party to attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

Weier struck a deal with prosecutors in August in which she pleaded guilty to being a party to attempted second-degree intentional homicide. But she also has pleaded not guilty due to mental illness, meaning she believes she isn’t responsible for her actions. The jury will decide whether she was indeed impaired.

At stake for Weier is how she’ll spend the next few years of her life. A plea deal struck by prosecutors and her attorney calls for 10 years in prison if she’s found not to have been mentally ill, though the judge could sentence her to as many as 25 years. If she’s found to have been mentally ill, she would be committed to a mental hospital for at least three years.

Weier told a judge during her plea hearing in August that she believed Slender Man would attack her and her family if she didn’t kill Leutner. Psychologists have testified that she suffered from persistent depression and a delusional disorder linked to schizotypy, a diminished ability to separate reality from fantasy.

Geyser pleaded not guilty to being a party to first-degree attempted homicide. Her trial is set to begin Oct. 9.