In what is now known as the “Slender Man case,” a pair of Wisconsin teens find themselves facing decades in prison. The 13-year-old defendants stand accused of luring a mutual friend into the woods and attempting to stab her to death. The bizarre situation is blamed on an alleged attempt to sacrifice the victim to a fictitious character called Slender Man.
The Associated Press reports that the Milwaukee natives, who were both 12 at the time of the near-fatal assault, will be tried as adults. The two each face a charge of attempted first-degree intentional homicide following the 2014 Slender Man stabbing.
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) August 21, 2015
According to FOX News, an investigation found that the girls planned the murder of victim Payton Leutner for months in advance. They were reportedly obsessed with the Slender Man character and believed that Slender Man would appear to them if they showed their loyalty by killing someone.
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) August 21, 2015
The teen defendants allegedly lured Payton into a trap by inviting her to a sleepover. She was then tricked into meeting them in the woods where the two girls stabbed her a total of 19 times. Leutner crawled away and was later found by a cyclist near a road. Although her identity was released, the two attackers remain anonymous due to a pending decision by an appeals court.There’s still a possibility that the two girls could get their case successfully moved to juvenile court, which the AP notes is closed to the public.
Although their defense attorneys did not protest not the guilty pleas in the case, they did strongly oppose the case being tried outside of juvenile court.
One attorney for the teens stated that he would move for pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. The young girls’ defense team has argued that the pair should not be convicted and sent to jail due to a combination of their young ages and the likelihood that each girl suffers from mental illnesses.
— People magazine (@people) August 21, 2015
The fact that the duo honestly believed in Slender Man and wanted to prove his existence, their lawyers argue, is undeniable proof that they need help rather than a lengthy prison term.
Slender Man, or Slenderman, is an internet urban legend and meme. The character is often described as an unnaturally tall and pale man who possesses obscure facial features or no face at all. Slender Man is often Photoshopped into images with young children, primarily due to claims that he kidnaps very young victims. Often these supposed images are offered as proof that Slender Man was to blame.
The defendants apparently believed that killing the victim would prove the existence of Slender Man; the act of murder would also allow them to live in Slender Man’s mansion forever.
[Image Credit: Screen grab from YouTube/wochit/Fox 6]