Wis­con­sin girl was men­tally ill dur­ing stab­bing of class­mate, jury de­ter­mines

San Francisco Chronicle - - FROM THE COVER -

WAUKESHA, Wis. — A girl who ad­mit­ted to par­tic­i­pat­ing in the stab­bing of a class­mate to please horror char­ac­ter Slen­der Man will avoid prison af­ter a jury de­ter­mined that she was men­tally ill at the time of the at­tack.

Anissa Weier trem­bled as the jury’s ver­dict was read late Fri­day af­ter a week of tes­ti­mony and 11 hours of de­lib­er­a­tions. Her at­tor­ney said she was re­lieved and cried af­ter the ver­dict.

“I’m very thank­ful to the ju­rors for tak­ing the time to look at what was re­ally go­ing on with her,” Maura McMa­hon said.

Weier and Mor­gan Geyser lured class­mate Pay­ton Leut­ner into the woods at a park in Waukesha, a Mil­wau­kee sub­urb, in 2014. Geyser stabbed Leut­ner 19 times while Weier urged her on, ac­cord­ing to in­ves­ti­ga­tors. A pass­ing bi­cy­clist found Pay­ton, who barely sur­vived her wounds. All three girls were 12 at the time.

Both Weier and Geyser told de­tec­tives they felt they had to kill Leut­ner to become Slen­der Man’s “prox­ies,” or ser­vants, and pro­tect their fam­i­lies from the de­mon’s wrath.

Weier, now 15, pleaded guilty to at­tempted sec­ond­de­gree in­ten­tional homi­cide in a deal with pros­e­cu­tors in Au­gust. But she claimed she was men­tally ill dur­ing the at­tack and not re­spon­si­ble for her ac­tions, in a bid to be sent to a men­tal in­sti­tu­tion rather than prison. A plea agree­ment called for her to spend at least three years in a men­tal hos­pi­tal if judged men­tally ill, and 10 years in prison if not.

Deputy District At­tor­ney Ted Szczu­pakiewicz de­clined com­ment. Geyser’s trial is set to be­gin Oct. 9.

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