A 15-year-old Wisconsin girl who was charged in the stabbing a classmate in a park woods three years ago will not go to jail but will face treatment for mental illness instead.
Anissa Weier could spend at least three years in a mental institution instead of 10 years in prison after a jury voted 10 to 12 that Weier was delusional and not criminally responsible for her actions at the time of the attempted murder.
In 2014, Weier and friend Morgan Geyser enticed classmate Payton Leutner into a park woods where they believed Slender Man lived. Weir reportedly stabbed Leutner 19 times while Geyser egged her on. Leutner was eventually found alive by a passing-by cyclist and was able to recover from her wounds. All three girls were 12 years old at the time.
The two girls said they stabbed Leutner as a proxy or servant for Slender Man, a creepy internet character invented for a website contest in 2009. They believed that if they stabbed Leutner, the fictional character would have mercy on them and their families, and they would be safe from his wrath.
Slender Man’s inventor, Eric Knudsen released a statement about the incident through a spokesperson to Radar Online in 2014.
“I am deeply saddened by the tragedy in Wisconsin and my heart goes out to the families of those affected by this terrible act,” he said.
Geyser, who is set to be tried next month, will also try for a mental illness ruling.
She was diagnosed with schizophrenia shortly after the incident, and is expected to draw on her family’s history of schizophrenia in her defense.
The families of both girls have tried to have their admissions to the crime tossed out, saying that someone with mental illness and who is not yet an adult, is not able to knowingly give up their right to remain silent.
Weier’s attorney, Joseph Smith, told the court that his client’s depression after her parents got a divorce caused her mental illness.
Leutner’s family expressed their displeasure with the verdict in a statement to People.
“The decision allows the assailant to petition the court every six months and request release into the community. Their decision also forces our family to relive this horrific crime every six months wondering if they will be released,” they said. “The potential release of an assailant that methodically planned and executed an attack in which our little girl was stabbed 19 times puts the community and our family at risk.”