Psychiatrist: Girl accused in stabbing needs intervention

AP News
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Posted: Jun 18, 2015 8:50 PM

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — One of two Wisconsin girls accused of trying to kill a classmate to please a fictitious horror character has schizophrenia that is getting worse and intervention is the best way to mitigate the symptoms, a psychiatrist testified Thursday.

The 13-year-old girl's attorney wants her case moved to the juvenile court system where, he argues, she can get more appropriate care.

Psychiatrist Kenneth Robbins, who has evaluated the girl twice, testified Thursday that her delusions and hallucinations seem to be worsening, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. She has told professionals she doesn't want medication because it might make her "friends" — fictional characters from Harry Potter and the horror character Slender Man — disappear.

Robbins detailed how if the girl were ordered to take medications, she might begin to later understand, through other psychiatric treatment such as therapy and skills training, that she's better off without the symptoms she now suffers.

He said the girl's high intelligence might help her in treatment. But for now, she doesn't want to believe she's ill, Robbins said. He repeatedly said he doesn't believe she is "malingering," or faking her conditions, because her behavior has been consistent over more than a year.

Another psychiatrist, who testified for the state, said he considers the girl dangerous because she continues to show no insight into her illness.

Kenneth Casimir diagnosed the girl's condition while evaluating her competency last fall at Winnebago Mental Health Institute. Casimir said he asked the girl what she would do if she could just go home. He said she spontaneously said that if Slender Man told her to hurt more people, "I'd have to do it."

While untreated, Casimir testified, the girl is "certainly at risk to engage in violent behavior."

The girl and her 13-year-old friend, both of Waukesha, about 20 miles west of Milwaukee, are charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the May 2014 stabbing of Payton Leutner, who survived 19 stab wounds. 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.

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