Family history of schizophrenia revealed in Slender Man case

AP News
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Posted: Jun 17, 2015 7:26 PM

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — One of two Wisconsin girls accused of trying to kill a classmate to please a fictitious horror character has a father who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, a defense witness testified Wednesday.

The 13-year-old girl's attorney is seeking to move the case to the juvenile system, where he argues she can get more appropriate care.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that forensic psychologist Deborah Collins testified that the early-onset schizophrenia diagnosed in the 13-year-old girl may have a genetic basis. Collins said the girl's father suffered from a similar mental illness as an adolescent, required hospitalization and went on disability.

The girl and her 13-year-old friend, both of Waukesha, are charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the attack on Payton Leutner, who survived 19 stab wounds. Waukesha is about 20 miles west of Milwaukee.

The girls told investigators they hoped the attack would please Slender Man, a character they had read about in online horror stories.

Defense attorneys for the other girl argued in a hearing last month that her mental issues would be better served in juvenile court, too. Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren said then he would rule Aug. 10 on both girls' requests that their cases be handled in juvenile court.

The Associated Press isn't naming the girls in case they end up in juvenile court, where proceedings are closed to the public.