February 1, 2018 / 10:26 PM / 8 months ago

Girl in 'Slenderman' stabbing is given 40 years in psychiatric care

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - A Wisconsin judge committed a 15-year-old girl to 40 years in state psychiatric care on Thursday for her role along with a friend in stabbing a classmate 19 times to placate the fictitious bogeyman “Slenderman.”

Morgan Geyser, 15, and Anissa Weier, 16, both previously pleaded guilty to the stabbing 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.

Both girls were charged as adults with first-degree attempted homicide but found not responsible for their actions due to mental illness.

Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren said institutional care was required because Geyser presented a risk and needed intensive monitoring.

“What we can’t forget is that this was an attempted murder,” Bohren said, noting she can seek conditional release in the future. “This is an issue of community protection.”

Geyser apologized in court, breaking down in tears. “I never meant for it to happen,” she said through sobs.

Last December, Weier, who suffered from delusions and auditory hallucinations, apologized and was committed to state psychiatric care for 25 years. Weier can seek a conditional release in July 2020, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.

Prosecutors wanted Geyser to spend up to the maximum of 40 years in a mental hospital. Her attorney, Anthony Cotton, argued for a shorter term with conditional release at a less restrictive residential facility.

“She shows remorse,” Cotton said. “She’s not an active risk to herself or others.”

Psychologist Kent Berney testified for the defense that Geyser’s delusions and hallucinations from her schizophrenia had moderated with medication.

The attack rocked the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, garnering international news attention and was the subject of a HBO documentary.

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.

After a sleepover with their classmate and friend, Weier and Geyser lured her into the woods and stabbed her 19 times with a kitchen knife, according to a criminal complaint.

Geyser has been housed in a state mental institution. Their classmate survived and returned to school in 2014, but remains traumatized and fearful, locking her windows every night and living with scars all over her body, Bohren said in December at Weier’s sentencing.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Chris Kenning in Chicago; editing by Diane Craft

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