Wisconsin girl in Slenderman case ruled competent to stand trial

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 18, 2014 7:09 AM

By Brendan O'Brien

WAUKESHA, Wisc. (Reuters) - A Wisconsin girl accused of luring a classmate into the woods and repeatedly stabbing her to please a fictional Internet character named Slenderman has been ruled competent to stand trial, a judge ruled on Thursday.

Anissa Weier was 12 at the time when she and Morgan Geyser, also 12, 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.

A competency decision for Geyser was expected later on Thursday.

Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren ruled Weier competent to stand trial after hearing testimony from a psychiatrist who was called by the state.

The psychiatrist, Robert Rawski, told the court that Weier, based on his evaluation of her, is capable of understanding and rationally taking part in her defense.

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.

Bohren on Aug. 1 had ruled Geyser incompetent and committed her to a state health services facility, where she was held and treated.

On Nov. 18, Bohren unsealed an expert report that found Geyser mentally competent to stand trial. Her attorney requested and was granted a competency hearing, set for Thursday, when he is expected to challenge the findings.

Weier, who is 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 the fresh competency hearing.

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.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Leslie Adler)