A Wisconsin girl who admitted helping her friend stab their classmate nearly to death to please online horror character Slender Man was lonely, depressed and descended into "madness," her attorney said Friday as she pleaded with a jury to send the girl to a mental hospital rather than prison. The jury returned late Friday evening with what appeared to be a verdict in Anissa Weier's favor, with 10 of 12 jurors—the minimum required by law—voting she was mentally ill. On a second question that jurors had to decide—whether she was criminally responsible for her actions—10 jurors also voted she was not. But it wasn't the same 10 on both questions, and Judge Michael Bohren ruled the verdict invalid. He ordered jurors to continue deliberations, the AP reports.
Weier and Morgan Geyser lured classmate Payton Leutner into the woods at a park in Waukesha, a Milwaukee suburb, in 2014. Geyser stabbed Leutner 19 times while Weier urged her on, according to investigators. A passing bicyclist found Leutner, who barely survived her wounds. All three girls were 12 at the time. Both Weier and Geyser told detectives they felt they had to kill Leutner to become Slender Man's "proxies," or servants, and protect their families from the demon's wrath. Weier, now 15, pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree intentional homicide in a deal with prosecutors in August. But she claims she was mentally ill during the attack and not responsible for her actions. A jury heard three days of testimony from psychologists and detectives. If the jury agrees she wasn't responsible, she'll be committed to a mental institution. If not, she faces prison. Geyser's trial is set to begin Oct. 9.