Wisconsin girls in Slenderman case ruled competent to stand trial
WAUKESHA, Wis. - Two Wisconsin girls accused of luring a classmate into the woods and repeatedly stabbing her to please a fictional Internet character named Slenderman are competent to stand trial, a judge ruled on Thursday.
Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, both 12 at the time, were charged as adults with first-degree attempted homicide in the attack on their classmate the morning after a sleepover in May in Waukesha, a suburb west of Milwaukee.
The girls told investigators they attacked their classmate to impress Slenderman, a tall, online bogeyman that they insisted was real, according to a criminal complaint.
The victim was stabbed 19 times but survived. She returned to school in September, a family spokesman said.
Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren ruled Weier competent to stand trial after hearing testimony from a psychiatrist called by the state.
Psychiatrist Robert Rawski told the court that Weier is capable of understanding and rationally taking part in her defense.
"I find it hard to believe that a person with her intelligence and her cognitive capacities ... would be considered incompetent," Rawski said.
Two psychologists, who testified for the defense, said that Weier is incompetent because she would be unable to make decisions in a complex setting such as a criminal trial.
Weier, now 13, was found competent to stand trial under mental evaluations released publicly in court on Oct. 22. Weier's attorneys objected to the findings, leading to Thursday's competency hearing.
The judge later ruled Geyser competent after the defense waived its right to dispute a mental evaluation, made public in court on Nov. 18, that found Geyser competent to stand trial.
"I didn't see a particularly compelling reason to challenge the conclusions of this doctor," said Geyser's attorneyAnthony Cotton after the court proceedings.
Bohren also granted a request by Cotton to keep his client at a mental health facility, where she has been receiving treatment for schizophrenia since an earlier mental evaluation found her incompetent.
Wisconsin law requires attempted homicide cases involving suspects at least 10 years old to begin in adult court before attorneys can ask a judge to move the case to juvenile court.
The girls could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison if convicted of attempted homicide as adults. They could be held until age 25 if convicted as juveniles.