Competency exam ordered in Wisconsin 'Slenderman' stabbing case

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 15, 2014 3:43 PM

By Brendan O'Brien

WAUKESHA Wis. (Reuters) - One of two Wisconsin pre-teen girls accused of stabbing a friend to please the fictional Internet character Slenderman must undergo a mental competency exam, a judge ruled on Monday.

The order of an exam for Anissa Weier, 12, on Monday by Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren follows his ruling in August that co-defendant Morgan Geyser was mentally incompetent to stand trial in the stabbing.

Weier and Geyser were charged as adults with first-degree attempted homicide, accused of luring a classmate into a wooded area and stabbing her 19 times in late May in Waukesha, a western suburb of Milwaukee.

The girls told investigators they attacked the girl, also 12, to impress Slenderman, a tall, fictional bogeyman popular on the Internet that they insisted was real, according to a criminal complaint.

Judge Bohren on Aug. 1 ordered Geyser to be committed to the state's department of health services, based on testimony from two mental health professionals. A status hearing for Geyser is scheduled for Nov. 12.

Assistant Public Defender Joseph Smith said in a letter to the court that a psychologist found that Weier may not be competent to assist in her own defense, because of her developmental stage and personal issues.

Bohren canceled a probable cause hearing for Weier that was scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. He said he would not reschedule the probable cause hearing until she is ruled competent.

The victim, whose identity has not been made public, spent six days in the hospital and then went home for further recovery, according to her family. She returned to school on Sept. 3 after spending the summer recovering.

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 face up to 60 years in prison if convicted as adults of attempted homicide. They could be incarcerated to age 25 if they are convicted as juveniles under Wisconsin law.

(Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Eric Walsh)