WAUKESHAW, Wis. – The second of two young Wisconsin girls accused of trying to kill a classmate to please horror character Slender Man entered a plea Friday of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to an attempted homicide charge.
Fourteen-year-old Anissa Weier entered the plea during a 15-minute hearing in Waukesha County Circuit Court. Judge Michael Bohren appointed two doctors to examine the girl, who sat silently during the proceedings. The judge ordered the doctors to turn in a report on her mental status by Oct. 6.
Weier and 14-year-old Morgan Geyser each face one count of first-degree attempted intentional homicide as adults for allegedly luring classmate Payton Leutner into a wooded area and repeatedly stabbing her in May 2014. All three girls were 12 years old at the time.
Anyone age 10 or older who faces that charge in Wisconsin is automatically considered an adult. If convicted, each girl would face up to 40 years in prison and 20 years on extended supervision. Geyser pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect last month.
Weier’s attorney, Maura McMahon, said after the hearing that she was no longer trying to get the case moved to juvenile court, a fight that had been ongoing since Weier and Geyser were taken into custody. Geyser’s attorney said last month he’d given up on moving her case after exhausting nearly all legal avenues.
The Associated Press initially chose not to name the girls in case they were tried in juvenile court, where proceedings are secret and penalties aren’t nearly as harsh. In juvenile court, the girls could have been incarcerated for three years and supervised until they turned 18, and their records would have been sealed.
Moving forward in adult court, the girls would be committed to a mental hospital indefinitely if defense attorneys and prosecutors agree they suffer from a mental disease, McMahon said. If a dispute arises over their mental states, a hearing would ensue and a jury would ultimately make the decision.
Prosecutors allege that the girls planned for months to kill Leutner, either to gain favor with Slender Man and earn positions as his servants or to avoid his wrath. The girls lured Leutner to a park in Waukesha, a town west of Milwaukee, following a sleepover. Investigators say the girls stabbed Leutner 19 times before fleeing, and Leutner crawled to a road where a bicyclist found her.
Weier and Geyser were captured on the outskirts of Waukesha. They said they were walking to a national forest in northern Wisconsin where they planned to join Slender Man at his mansion, investigators allege.
Both girls have asked Bohren for a jury from outside Waukesha County if the cases go to trial, citing heavy media coverage. They are due back in court Oct. 13 for a hearing on those requests.