Second girl in Slenderman case avoids prison time

Morgan Geyser, now 15, will be treated indefinitely at a mental hospital after reaching plea deal with prosecutors

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 September, 2017, 11:26am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 September, 2017, 10:42pm

The second of two Wisconsin girls charged with repeatedly stabbing a classmate to impress horror character Slenderman will plead guilty in a deal that will send her to a state mental hospital and bring an end a case that shocked people in part because the attackers were only 12.

The deal, announced in court on Friday, means both girls will avoid prison time for the attack on Payton Leutner, who was also 12. Morgan Geyser, now 15, will be treated indefinitely at a mental hospital. Her co-defendant, Anissa Weier, faces at least three years in a mental hospital.

“It’s been a tragic experience for everyone,” Geyser’s lawyer Donna Kuchler said after the brief court hearing. “Our hearts go out to the victim and her family. And we’re very grateful that the district attorney’s office gave this case the considering it deserves.”

Weier and Geyser lured Payton Leutner, who was also 12, into the woods at a park in Waukesha, a Milwaukee suburb. Geyser stabbed Leutner 19 times while Weier urged her on, according to investigators. Leutner survived after she crawled out of the woods to a path where a passing cyclist found her.

Both Weier and Geyser told detectives they felt they had to kill Leutner to become Slenderman’s “proxies”, or servants, and protect their families from him.

Geyser was expected to go on trial on October 16. The plea deal came after a jury this month determined that Weier was mentally ill at the time of the attack on Leutner.

Geyser was at Friday’s hearing but did not speak. Afterwards, the judge allowed her to spend three hours with her family before returning her to a mental hospital where she has been receiving treatment.

The Leutner family issued a statement saying they had no comment about Friday’s hearing but will issue a statement at a plea hearing on Thursday when Geyser’s deal will be formalised.

Geyser and Weier were charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, which carries a possible sentence of up to 65 years in prison. Weier pleaded guilty to a reduced charge last month, and a jury then determined the sentence.

Unlike Weier, Geyser will plead guilty to the original charge from prosecutors. But Geyser will not face a sentencing phase where lawyers would argue that she was mentally ill when the crime occurred and should not face prison time.

“It’s just fair. It saves everybody a trial. It saves the victim, her family,” Kuchler said.

The deal calls for doctors to evaluate Geyser and report to a judge to determine how long she should remain in a state mental hospital.

During a hearing in August, Weier said she did not want to harm Leutner and that the stabbing plot was Geyser’s idea. She said she took part because she was afraid of what would happen if she did not.

“I believed that if I did not go through with it, Slenderman would come and attack and kill myself, my friends and my family. Those I cared about the most,” she said.

Slenderman started with an online post in 2009, as a mysterious spectre whose image people edit into everyday scenes of children at play. He is typically depicted as a spidery figure in a black suit with a featureless white face. He was regarded by his devotees as alternately a sinister force and an avenging angel.