One of two Wisconsin girls charged with repeatedly stabbing a classmate to impress the fictitious horror character Slender Man pleaded guilty Monday, but she still faces a trial in the case next month focused on her mental health. Anissa Weier, 15, pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree homicide as a party to a crime, with use of a deadly weapon. She initially faced a charge of attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the 2014 attack on Payton Leutner in park in Waukesha, a city west of Milwaukee. Weier spoke at length during the hearing, telling Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren that she understood her plea and its ramifications. She also explained her motivation for participating in her classmate's stabbing, the AP reports.
"I believed that if I didn't go through with it, Slender Man would come and attack and kill myself, my friends, and my family. Those I cared about the most," she said. The plea means her trial next month will look only at whether she is legally responsible for the crime or not guilty because of mental illness. She could face 10 years in prison if she's found guilty. If not, she'll spend three years in a mental hospital. Prosecutors allege she and her co-defendant, Morgan Geyser, stabbed Leutner 19 times in a wooded area following a sleepover, then left her. The girls planned to walk hundreds of miles north to meet Slender Man in a forest. Both suspects were 12 at the time of the attack. Geyser also was due in court Monday for a status hearing. She has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease to attempted homicide charges in adult court. Weier initially entered the same plea. (Read more Slender Man stories.)