(Reuters) - A Wisconsin girl who along with a friend stabbed a classmate 19 times to placate the fictitious bogeyman "Slenderman" was committed on Thursday to state psychiatric care for 25 years.
Anissa Weier, 15, and Morgan Geyser pleaded guilty in separate court cases to stabbing their classmate when all three girls were 12, as part of an effort to please Slenderman, whom Weier and Geyser said they believed would kill their families if they did not do so.
"I want everybody involved to know that I deeply regret everything that happened that day," Weier told the judge during her sentencing hearing on Thursday. "I'm never going to let this happen again."
Weier's attorney, Maura McMahon, had asked for 10 years of institutionalization for the girl, who along with Geyser was charged as an adult.
Geyser, who like Weier was found not responsible for her actions due to mental illness, is already housed in a state mental institution. Their classmate, who is not being named by Reuters, survived, but remains traumatized and fearful, locking her windows every night and living with scars all over her body, Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren said at Thursday's sentencing.
Under Bohren's Thursday commitment order, Weier, who suffers from delusions and auditory hallucinations, will live at a state mental institution. Her 25-year sentence will be reduced by about three years for time she has already served in a juvenile facility.
Slenderman originated in 2009 in an online forum where a user inserted the gaunt, tall, faceless figure into photos and the doctored images evolved into an urban legend.
Bohren said during the hearing in suburban Milwaukee that he found it upsetting to learn that Weier had access to a homemade Ouija board in the juvenile facility where she was being held, referring to the game that purports to allow players to communicate with the spirit world.
Weier believed that the Ouija board had released an evil spirit that was pressing down on her bed, and also brought about the return of Slenderman, according to a court report.
"I am very concerned about the near future with comments about the Ouija board, delusions and demons," the judge said, acknowledging that the sentence amounted to nearly twice as long as Weier has been alive.
Weier will be able to petition for release from institutionalization in July 2020. Even if that happens, however, her case will be overseen by the state until her 25-year sentence ends, he said.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California and Peter Szekely in New York; Writing by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)