On May 31, 2014, 12-year-old Payton Leutner crawled out of the woods to a path where a bicyclist found her bleeding from 19 stab wounds. Leutner, who survived the attack, told authorities she was stabbed by two of her 12-year-old friends, Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser.
The two Waukesha, Wisconsin middle school students told investigators that they plotted for months to kill their friend to appease the fictional Internet character Slender Man, a paranormal figure who stalks and kidnaps children.
Here are the latest developments in the Slender Man stabbing case:
Slender Man Case Delayed
Sept. 22, 2015 - The October trial date for the Slender Man stabbing case has been removed from the court calendar after the Wisconsin attorney general's office agreed that the decision to keep the case in adult court should be appealed.
Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren removed the trial date from his calendar after learning that Attorney General Brad Schimel supported the review by the Court of Appeals, although his office plans to defend the ruling to keep the case in adult court.
Schimel said the appeal would "clarify further proceedings in this litigation," and potentially protect the defendants, who were 12 years old at the time of the crime, from "substantial or irreparable injury."
Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier would face up to 45 years in prison if found guilty in adult court of the stabbing of their classmate, 12-year-old Payton Leutner, who survived the attack. They are charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide.
Although Judge Bohren also postponed hearings on other motions in the case until the appeal court rules, he did agree to allow a state psychiatrist to evaluate Weier in regards to a motion from her attorney that she was not competent to waive her right to remain silent when she first spoke to detectives.
Judge Enters Pleas for Slender Man Girls
Aug. 21, 2015 - A county judge has entered not guilty pleas for two 13-year-old girls accused of attempted homicide in the stabbing of a classmate while the defendants in the Slender Man case - Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier - stood mute in court.
Attorneys for the two girls, who were both 12 when the crime took place, said they did not speak on their on behalf in adult court because Judge Michael Bohren has not issued his written order that denied their motion to move the case to juvenile court.
Donna Kuchler, one of the attorneys for Geyser, said she wants to review the judge's written order before deciding whether to appeal his decision.
Kuchler and Maura McMahon, an attorney for Weier, said their clients might enter pleas of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. If the jury agrees that mental defects caused the stabbing, they would be sent to a mental hospital for an indefinite period of time.
Geyser has been diagnosed with early onset schizophrenia.
If found guilty in adult court, however, they could be sentenced up to 45 years. In juvenile court, they would have faced a maximum of three years incarceration.
The exact charge against the two is attempted first-degree intentional homicide, as party to a crime, with use of a dangerous weapon for the stabbing of 12-year-old Payton Leutner in May 2014.
Slender Man Case to Be Tried in Adult Court
Aug. 10, 2015 - Two girls accused of stabbing a 12-year-old friend because they wanted to appease the fictional character Slender Man will go to trial in adult court rather than juvenile court, a judge has ruled. The decision means Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier could face up to 35 years if convicted of the stabbing of their classmate Payton Leutner.
In spite of testimony at separate hearings for the two defendants from psychologist who said the girls could receive better mental health treatment in the juvenile system, Judge Michael Bohren ruled that their cases will remain in adult court.
The defense attorneys had also filed a motion asking that the Wisconsin law requiring adult court for juveniles if they are charged with first-degree crimes be declared unconstitutional because it can lead to cruel and unusual punishment.
In juvenile court, the girls could face up to five years incarceration, but if found guilty in adult court they could be sentenced to 65 years.
Judge Bohren denied that motion, ruling that although juveniles may not be as culpable for their actions as adults, that does not mean they are exempt from receiving adult sentences.
Slender Man Is Real, Suspect Says
June 19, 2015 - One of the Slender Man murder suspects still believes the fictional character is real and would kill again if he told her to, psychiatrists have testified. The testimony came in a hearing to determine if Morgan Geyser will be tried in juvenile or adult court.
State psychiatrist Kenneth Casimir told the court that 13-year-old Geyser has early-onset schizophrenia and continues to believe Slender Man is real. Casimir said Geyer's severe schizophrenia is dangerous if it remains untreated.
"Morgan said, 'Well if he told me,' meaning Slender Man, 'if he told me to hurt more people, I'd have to do it. If he told me to break into someone's house and stab them, I would have to do it,'" Casimir testified at the hearing.
Another state psychiatrist, Dr. Kenneth Robbins, told the judge that Geyser would not do well in the criminal justice system.
"Severe schizophrenia is predictably going to do very poorly in the criminal justice system, and we have hundreds of examples of that," Dr. Robbins testified. He also said that Geyser "continues to believe that Slender Man is real."
Treatment Denied for Slender Man Suspect
April 24, 2015 - One of the defendants in the Slender Man stabbing case will not have her bail reduced and will not be transferred to a private facility for mental health treatment. A judge denied the request from 12-year-old Morgan Geyser's attorney.
During the hearing, the judge expressed concerned about Geyser being a flight risk and kept her bond at $500,000. Anthony Cotton, Geyser's attorney, had requested that her bail be reduced to a signature bond.
Cotton told the judge that Geyser has no friends and has no car so she would not get very far if she did try to flee.
Attorney Wants Treatment for Geyser
April 15, 2015 - The attorney for a 12-year-old Wisconsin girl who is charged with stabbing a classmate to appease the fictional character Slender Man wants a judge to reduce her bail and allow her to be treated for psychotic disorders at a residential treatment center.
Attorney Anthony Cotton wants Morgan Geyser's bail reduced to from $500,000 to a signature bond. Cotton wants his client released from a juvenile detention center in West Bend and sent to a treatment facility in Milwaukee.
She would go to Milwaukee Academy, an all-girls treatment facility at her parents' expense, he said.
In his motion, Cotton said Geyser has been diagnoses with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders and "desperately needs treatment for her mental illness." He said early treatment was critical for her ultimate prognosis.
The judge is expected to rule on the bail motion on April 24.
Slender Man Case Stays in Adult Court
March 13, 2015 - The case of two Wisconsin girls who stabbed a classmate because they thought it would appease the fictional character Slender Man, will remain in adult court for now, a judge ruled. Judge Michael Bohren ruled that Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier will be tried in adult court for the attempted homicide of Payton Leutner.
Attorneys for both girls had requested their case be moved to juvenile court.
In making his ruling, Judge Bohren allowed the defense attorneys the opportunity to seek a "reverse waiver" to move their cases to juvenile court on other grounds.
Under Wisconsin law, the attorneys will have to show that their clients will not receive adequate treatment in the adult criminal justice system, that moving the case to juvenile court will not "depreciate" the seriousness of the charge, and that keeping the case in adult court would not be a deterrent to other juveniles planning to kill their peers.
The judge scheduled Weier's reverse waiver hearing in May and Geyser's in June.
Meanwhile, videos of the interrogation of the two girls have been release in which they openly discuss their motivation to kill their classmate. Geyser told detectives that killing Leutner would allow them to "live with Slender Man in his mansion in the forest."
Weier told investigators that Geyser convinced her that killing Leutner was "necessary" and if she did not participate, Slender Man would “kill my whole family in three seconds.”
Defense Wants Case in Juvenile Court
Feb. 25, 2015 - Defense attorneys and prosecutors have both filed motions in Waukesha County on whether two girls who stabbed their friend in the Slender Man stabbing case should be tried in adult or juvenile court.
Prosecutors argue that when Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser lured their friend Payton Leutner into the woods, stabbed her 19 times and left her for dead after planning the crime for months, they were committing attempted first-degree homicide.
According to court filings by the Waukesha County District Attorney's Office, if that is the charge they will face trial for, Wisconsin law dictates that the trial be conducted in adult court.
Defense attorneys, on the other hand, argued that the two girls, who were both 12 at the time of the stabbing, should face attempted second-degree homicide charges, a count that would allow the trial to be held in juvenile court.
Where the case is tried would make a huge difference in the possible sentences the girls would face. If found guilty of attempted first-degree murder in adult court, they could be sentenced to up to 65 years each in state prison.
If found guilty of the lesser charge in juvenile court, they could only be held in a secure facility until they turned 25 years old.
In court fillings last week, prosecutors pointed out that if the girls are tried in adult court, but found guilty of the lesser charge, Wisconsin law would allow them to be sentenced as juveniles anyway.
The judge is expected to make a decision on the issue March 13.
Girls 'Coerced' by Slender Man, Attorney Says
Feb. 24, 2015 - A defense attorney for one of the girls accused in the Slender Man stabbing case told a judge that his client believed the fictional character was real and would kill her whole family if she did not kill her friend.
Joseph Smith Jr., attorney for Anissa Weier, asked the judge to dismiss the charge of first-degree murder against his client because the intimidation from the Slender Man character that she perceived amounted to coercion, which would justify a lesser charge.
During the hearing last week, Waukesha Police Detective Michelle Trussoni testified that Weier and co-defendant Morgan Geyser, believed that "their families would be in danger" if they did not kill Payton Leutner.
During an interview that was video taped, Weier told police, "He targets children most, so I was really scared knowing that Slenderman could easily kill my whole family in three seconds."
During the hearing, the court heard that the two girls had been planning the attack for five months. Originally, they planned to kill Leutner during a sleepover, but backed out. They also abandoned a plan to kill her in a park restroom where they could flush the blood down the drain, detective Trussoni testified.
Finally, they decided to lure Leutner to the woods under the pretense of playing hide-and-seek. Police officer Shelly Fischer said Geyser whispered to Leutner, "I'm so sorry," just before the stabbing. Waukesha Detective Tom Casey, however, told the court that Geyser showed no remorse for the crime.
Last week's preliminary hearing was originally scheduled last July, but was postponed because Weier was declared incompetent. In November, she was ruled fit to stand trial.