WAUKESHA Wis. (Reuters) - A judge on Wednesday ordered a competency hearing for one of two Wisconsin pre-teen girls accused of stabbing a friend to please the fictional Internet character "Slenderman" after experts deemed her mentally incompetent to proceed with her defense.
Two doctors concluded that 12-year-old Morgan Geyser was incompetent, according to the results of mental evaluationsdisclosed in Waukesha County Circuit Court on Wednesday.
Geyser and Anissa Weier, also 12, have been charged as adults with first-degree attempted homicide. They are accused of luring a classmate into a park and stabbing her 19 times in late May in Waukesha, a western suburb of Milwaukee. She survived. Geyser's family and prosecutors had both commissioned mental competency exams. Full details of the evaluations are sealed.
Judge Michael Bohren ordered a competency hearing for Geyser on Aug. 1 at the request of prosecutors. He also sought another examination of Geyser that focuses on her mental state at the time of the alleged stabbing, her attorney Anthony Cotton said.
Cotton said he believes it would be appropriate for the case to be moved to juvenile court, away from the media and public.
"This is all part of the process, looking at the mental health, looking at her functioning competency and issues like that," Cotton told reporters afterward.
Wisconsin law requires attempted homicide cases involving suspects at least 10 years old to begin in adult court before attorneys can ask a judge to move the case to juvenile court.
The girls face up to 60 years in prison if convicted as adults of attempted homicide. They could be incarcerated to age 25 if they are convicted as juveniles under Wisconsin law. Weier and Geyser told investigators they stabbed the girl, also 12, to impress Slenderman, a tall, fictional bogeyman popular on the Internet that they insisted was real, according to a criminal complaint.The girl they stabbed spent six days in the hospital before being released and is now recovering at home, according to her family. Her identity has not been made public.
Weier's attorney, Joseph Smith, has not sought a competency exam, but told reporters on Wednesday he believes it is a key issue and part of the focus in getting the case moved to juvenile court.
A status hearing for Weier, who also appeared in court on Wednesday, was set for her case on Aug. 1.
Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Sandra Maler and Susan Heavey