The fates of two teen girls who were accused of stabbing their classmate last May to appease the fictional character Slender Man are now in the hands of Wisconsin Judge Michael Bohren. The judge will make a ruling on Monday whether the the girls — now both 13-years-old — should be tried as adults, or be moved to juvenile court.
In May, 2014, the girls allegedly lured then 12-year-old Payton Leutner into the woods, and stabbed her 19 times in an attempt to please the horror character Slender Man. The girls then hoped they would be able to live with Slender Man in his mansion, as his slaves. The girls also alleged that they feared for their own well beings, as well as those of their families, should they not kill Leutner, reportedly saying that Slender Man would come after them.
Should the Slender Man slayers be tried in adult court, they each face a charge of attempted first-degree homicide, which would hold a maximum of 65 years in prison if convicted. On the other hand, if they were to be transferred to juvenile court, they could only be held a maximum of five years, after which all records would be expunged.
It’s a decision that won’t be easy to make for Judge Bohren, says former Wisconsin supreme court justice Janine Geske.
“It’s obviously a very tough decision for him. They’re very young. They clearly have some serious mental health issues. That pushes you toward putting them in juvenile court. But the crime is so severe.”
Anthony Cotton, attorney for one of the teens, says his client suffers from schizophrenia, and still believes fictional characters like Slender Man and Harry Potter really exist, and that she carries on conversations with them as if they were real. Cotton believes that should his client be placed in an adult prison, she wouldn’t receive the treatment she desperately needs, whereas in the juvenile system, a main focus is on rehabilitation over punishment.
“[The girl] is not the hardened, irascible offender who … needs to be taught a lesson through adult court placement.”
Prosecutors in the Slender Man stabbing case countered that in the adult prison system, the girls would get a longer span of treatment and rehabilitation than they would receive if they were put into the juvenile system.
Do you think the girls accused in the Slender Man stabbing case should be tried in adult or juvenile court?
[Image Credit: People]