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Slender Man Suspect Institutionalized for Mental Illness

— January 5, 2018

Wisconsin teen, Anissa Weier, now 16, was sentenced to 25 years in a mental institution for the near-death stabbing of her friend, Payton Leutner, when both girls were 12.  The incident was meant to appease the “Slender Man”.  The “Slender Man” is a fictional entity created for a 2009 Photoshop contest on Something Awful, an online forum.  Essentially, the girls believed they could only become his followers by stabbing her, which would prove their loyalty to him.  By killing the girl, they would become “proxies,” or servants, and protect their families from him.

Weier and co-defendant Morgan Geyser, also 12 at the time of the crime, lured Leutner into a wooded park in Waukesha, a suburb just outside of Milwaukee.  Geyser stabbed the girl 19 times while Weier cheered her on.  Leutner survived after she crawled out of the woods and onto a path where a bicyclist happened to find her and called 911.  She was hospitalized for six days, eventually returning to school.

Weier pleaded guilty in 2017 to the attempted second-degree murder, which occurred in May 2014.  Due to the circumstances and nature of the crime, she was prosecuted as an adult.  The teen submitted an insanity defense in a penalty phase of the trial and was found not criminally responsible due to her mental illness.

Image Courtesy of BBC News

Co-defendant Geyser had grown up in institutions, including the prison system.  She was diagnosed with early-onset schizophrenia and pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree intentional murder in a deal in which prosecutors agreed she wasn’t criminally responsible.  She was committed to a state-run mental hospital in a civil proceeding.  Her sentencing hearing in the criminal case is scheduled for Feb. 1 of this year.

Weier apologized before her sentencing. “I do hold myself accountable for this and that I will do whatever I have to do to make sure I don’t get any sort of delusion or whatever again,” Weier told the judge. “I want everybody involved to know I deeply regret everything that happened that day.  I know that nothing I say is going to make this right and nothing I say is going to fix what I broke.”

Leutner family spokesman Steve Lyons said they were pleased with the court’s decision.  “They believe that justice was served,” Lyons said. “The sentence today allows for some additional closure for Payton and her family and it also keeps both Payton, her family and the community safe.”

In a letter written by Leutner’s mother, the woman said of her daughter, “She will struggle with the events of that day and physical and emotional scars it left for the rest of her life…Payton has a lifetime of healing ahead of her and she deserves to be allowed to heal in an environment where she feels safe.”

Prosecutor Kevin Osborne argued for the maximum 25-year confinement, and was happy to be successful.  “Considering the nature and gravity of this offense, being supervised until the age of 37 is not all that long…in terms of the fact that Payton is looking at a lifetime of scars, physical scars and psychological scarring,” Osborne said.


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