Doctors recommending teen’s release in Slender Man case

Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 8:42 AM CST
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WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - One of the Wisconsin teens convicted in the Slender Man stabbing is asking for conditional release from a state mental health facility.

Anissa Weier, 19, went before a judge Wednesday morning in Waukesha County. Weier is committed at Winnebago Mental Health Institution in Oshkosh. No decision on her release was made Wednesday. Weier gave a letter to the court, which the judge accepted as part of the file. WISN reporter Nick Bohr says three doctors who have examined Weier are recommending her release.

The prosecution asked for until March 26 to file a written argument on behalf of the state, which the judge granted. The defense’s response is due April 9.

The conditional release hearing was rescheduled for June 11 at 9 a.m. The judge ordered Weier to be returned to Winnebago Mental Health Institution until that hearing.

In Wisconsin, conditional release is granted to people with mental illness who have committed a crime. A judge will determine if Weier is fit to be released. Doctors are expected to speak at the hearing.

“The standard for conditional release in Wisconsin is dangerousness. That is, the court will deny conditional release if it finds clear and convincing evidence that the person would pose a significant risk of bodily harm to their well-being or to others or there is a significant risk of serious property damage if conditionally released,” reads a statement from the Department of Health Services.

In 2017, Weier was found Guilty but Not Guilty Due to Mental Disease or Defect on a charge of Attempted 2nd Degree Intentional Homicide. She was sentenced to 25 years in the custody of the Department of Health Services. People sentenced to mental health facilities are allowed to petition for conditional release every six months.

Weier and Morgan Geyser were 12 when they lured friend Payton Leutner into some woods near Waukesha with the intent to kill her. It happened during a sleepover party for Geyser’s birthday in 2014. Payton, then 12, was stabbed 19 times and left for dead. She crawled out of the woods and survived. The story grabbed international headlines when it was revealed the motive for the attack was to court favor with a fictional horror character named Slender Man.

In 2017, Geyser entered a plea to avoid trial. However, she appealed her conviction, claiming errors made in the lead up to the plea may have helped her fair better in trial. “She certainly would have done no worse,” reads the appeal.

Court of Appeals District II denied Geyser’s appeal that the circuit court erred during the case. “With this statement, Geyser ignores the benefits she gained through her plea and the risks she faced if she did not enter it.”

Geyser’s attorneys claimed the court erred in binding then then 12-year-old over to “adult court.” They claimed the cause should have been in juvenile court. The appeals court disagreed.

Geyser also fought to suppress statements made to a detective after the stabbing attack. In those statement, Geyser told Detective Thomas Casey that she and co-defendant Anissa Weier had planned the attack on their friend for months and were planning to kill Payton during the sleepover party.

In Geyser’s appeal, she claimed she did not knowingly or voluntarily waive her Miranda rights before giving the statements and claimed they were “unconstitutionally procured.” The appeals court stated that even if the court made a mistake “such error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt due to the additional unchallenged and overwhelming evidence in this case.”

Geyser was found “Guilty but Not Guilty Due to Mental Disease or Defect” and ordered to a state mental health facility for no more than 40 years. During sentencing, a psychologist testified that Geyser has a high IQ, but also suffers from schizophrenia that could last through her lifetime.

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