On Friday, a judge ruled that Morgan Geyser, 12, and Anissa Weier, 13, would be tried as adults in the case that has become known in the media as the Slender Man assault.
The two girls, both residents of Waukesha, Wisconsin, have both been charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide as a result of the May 31 Slender Man-provoked assault on Payton Leutner. Geyser and Weier allegedly stabbed their classmate 19 times in an attack that the girls thought would fend off Slender Man and keep him from harming their own families.
Although Payton Leutner was left for dead by her assailants, she has fully recovered and returned to school in September.
Slender Man is a fictional character, first created in an internet meme in 2009, which depicted an unnaturally tall and thin man with a blank face. He was also depicted as wearing a black suit. Slender man (also spelled Slenderman) has since grown in popularity and been depicted with creative variations, but his appearance remains essentially the same. Over the years, the Slender Man images have spawned fan fiction, depicting him as a supernatural stalker with particular interest in hunting and traumatizing young children.
Following the Slender Man stabbing, Morgan and Anissa, who were both 12-years-old at the time of the incident, had been apprehended on their way to Nicolet National Forest. The girls had hoped to be rewarded by Slender Man for sacrificing Payton, and that Slender Man would allow him to live with him in his mansion.
Interrogations of the girls revealed chilling coldness in their plan to please Slender Man.
“People who trust you become very gullible,” one of the girls told police. “It was sort of sad.”
In addition to the videotaped interrogation, an investigation following the Slender Man attack revealed that Geyser had developed what investigators described as a “cult” fixation, carving occult symbols into her Barbie dolls. Also found were more than 60 sketches of Slender Man with captions warning that teenagers are “not safe even in your house” and that “he [Slender Man] is here always.”
Geyser and Weier have been proved competent to stand trial under Wisconsin law, which requires all offenders over the age of 10 to be tried as adults in matters where the crimes were felonies. Judge Michael Bohren’s determination to try the girls as adults means that Morgan and Anissa could each serve up to 65 years in prison.
A conviction as minors would have meant a far more lenient sentence: up to 25 years in a reformatory.