Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jury to Mull Defendant's Mental Health in Slender Man Attack

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jury to Mull Defendant's Mental Health in Slender Man Attack

Article excerpt

MADISON, Wis. * A jury will begin weighing this week the mental competence of a girl accused in the stabbing of a classmate to please a fictional horror character known as Slender Man.

Jury selection begins Monday in Waukesha in the trial to determine 15-year-old Anissa Weier's competency. It could take up to two weeks. Here are a few key things to know about the case and the trial:

WHAT HAPPENED?

Prosecutors allege that Weier and her friend Morgan Geyser lured classmate Payton Leutner into a Waukesha park in May 2014 and stabbed her 19 times. The girls have said it was an effort to please Slender Man and become his servants, or to keep the character from attacking their families. All three girls were 12 years old at the time. Weier and Geyser left Leutner for dead and started walking to the Nicolet National Forest, where they hoped to join Slender Man in his mansion. A passing bicyclist found Leutner, who survived, and Weier and Geyser were captured later that day.

WHAT ARE THE CHARGES?

Prosecutors charged both girls with being a party to attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Weier struck a deal with prosecutors in August in which she pleaded guilty to being a party to attempted second-degree intentional homicide, essentially acknowledging she committed all the elements of the offense. But she also has pleaded not guilty due to mental illness, meaning she believes she isn't responsible for her actions. The jury will decide whether she was indeed impaired.

WHAT'S AT STAKE FOR WEIER?

How she'll spend the next few years of her life. A plea deal struck by prosecutors and her attorney calls for 10 years in prison if she's found not to have been mentally ill, though the judge could sentence her to as many as 25 years. If she's found to have been mentally ill, she would be committed to a mental hospital for at least three years. …

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