Wisconsin judge holds juvenile court hearing in Slenderman case

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 17, 2015 4:12 PM

By Brendan O'Brien

WAUKESHA, Wis. (Reuters) - A Wisconsin girl accused of stabbing a classmate to please the fictional character Slenderman should face charges in juvenile court where she could get treatment for mental illness, jail officials and mental health experts said on Wednesday.

Attorneys for Morgan Geyser called the experts and officials to testify at the outset of a hearing to determine whether the case against her will be transferred from adult court to juvenile court where, if convicted, she would face a much shorter sentence.

Geyser and her friend, Anissa Weier, were charged as adults with attempted first-degree homicide in the May 2014 attack on a classmate in Waukesha, a suburb of Milwaukee. All three girls were 12 years old at the time.

She seems "more childlike. I don't feel in my observations that some of her actions are equivalent to what a 13-year-old would be," said Nicole Simon, a jail officer in Washington County, where Geyser, now 13, is being held.

Simon and other jail officials who testified described Geyser as a timid, polite and extremely creative child. They also said she talks to herself, sits under a table in her jail pod and feeds and plays with ants crawling on the floor.

Geyser's attorneys are asking Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren to shift her case to juvenile court. The hearing continues on Thursday.

Bohren held a similar hearing for Weier in May. He has set a hearing for Aug. 10 to announce whether Weier's case will be moved to juvenile court, away from the public and media.

Wisconsin law requires cases to begin in adult court if they involve juvenile suspects at least 10 years old who are charged with first-degree attempted intentional homicide.

The girls could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison if convicted as adults. If convicted as juveniles, they could only be imprisoned to age 25.

Prosecutors say the girls lured their classmate into the woods after a sleepover and stabbed her 19 times to impress the Internet character, Slenderman. The girl survived the attack and returned to school last fall.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Sandra Maler)