Last week, a Wisconsin judge denied the teenage girls involved in the so-called "Slender Man stabbing" their request to live under house arrest. The girls were hoping to return home while awaiting trial, but instead both will stay in custody, their bail set at $500,000 each.
Thirteen-year-old Morgan Geyser and 14-year-old Anissa Weier were arrested in May 2014 after reportedly stabbing their friend, Payton Leutner, 19 times. Leutner survived. Geyser and Weier said they were acting under the orders of Slender Man, a fictional Internet character who they claim told them to murder Leutner. According to police, the stabbing occurred after a sleepover on Saturday, May 30, 2014; in the morning, the three girls went to a nearby park, where Geyser and Weier lured Leutner into the woods.
"Once there, one suspect held the victim down while the other suspect stabbed her 19 times," Police Chief Russell Jack said in a press conference. "Many of the stab wounds struck major organs." Leutner was later found crawling along a highway by a cyclist, who then called police. All three girls were 12 at the time.
Last week, Geyser's attorney asked that she be allowed to stay with her grandparents and wear an electronic monitoring bracelet while awaiting trial. But Judge Michael Bohren denied the requests to send both girls home, citing "the need to ensure public protection" and the fact that they had tried to escape after the incident.
Geyser openly wept at the judge's decision. When she was in jail at the Washington County juvenile detention center, Geyser reported that she was sexually assaulted by her roommate.
While the district attorney doesn't comment on ongoing cases, a representative from the Waukesha County DA's office told Broadly, "Police reports about the incident don't seem to substantiate sexual assault," but rather that Geyer's cellmate exposed herself to Geyser and asked her to do the same. A social worker, Jessie Andrews, testified that the cell mate was moved after this event.
In 2014, Geyser was considered incompetent to stand trial—meaning that she did not seem to understand the charges against her in order to aid in her defense—because clinical professionals felt that she suffered from too many delusions and hallucinations. One doctor testified that he believed Geyser suffered from schizophrenia. Geyser told doctors that she believed that Harry Potter characters were real, as was Vulcan mind control.
In court last year, the defense produced a series of drawings found in Geyser's locker. The images, none of which would seem out of place in a horror film, show faceless figures and phrases like, "He still sees you," "Don't look out the window," "You are strange, child," and "Help never comes."
Eventually, Geyser was moved from a juvenile detention facility to a psychiatric hospital. In the hospital, she began taking a regular dose of anti-psychotic medication and in December of 2015 was declared competent to stand trial, as an adult, for the attempted murder of Leutner.
Since then, her lawyers told the court, Geyser's mental health has improved.
"The voices, the hallucinations, the visual hallucinations, and the delusions—those were all absent," psychologist Deborah Collins, hired by the defense to interview Geyser, told the court Friday.
After the girls were arrested, police told reporters that they believed the two had been planning the murder for months. Weier reportedly told detectives about Slender Man after her arrest. "He's six to 14 feet tall, has no face, and always wears a red tie," she said, adding that he threatened her and Geyser. "I was really scared. He could kill my whole family in three seconds."
Detective Shelly Fisher, who interviewed the victim six days after the stabbing, testified that the victim remembered that, in the moments before Geyser stabbed her, Geyser said, "I'm so sorry," but that she had to do it.
"I was really scared, knowing that Slender could kill my whole family in three seconds," Weier said in a videotaped interview. The defense team is characterizing the girls' states of mind as a "shared delusion."
Geyser's attorney was in trial on an unrelated case and not immediately available for comment.
Both girls are being tried as adults, but the trial is on hold awaiting a decision on whether it can be sent to juvenile court instead of adult court.
The case is the subject of a new HBO documentary, Beware the Slenderman, which premiered at SXSW this year.