After 3 Years, 'Slender Man' Trial Begins

Jury to decide if Anissa Weier suffered from mental illness at time of attack
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2017 10:00 AM CDT
After 3 Years, 'Slender Man' Trial Begins
Anissa Weier listens during jury selection in her trial at Waukesha County Courthouse on Monday in Waukesha, Wis.   (AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool)

It's been more than three years since Payton Leutner was stabbed 19 times by two friends in a Wisconsin park in the "Slender Man" stabbing, and this week a jury hears testimony to decide if one of her attackers was mentally competent at the time. Opening statements began Tuesday in the case of 15-year-old Anissa Weier, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Weier's defense is now tasked with convincing 10 of 16 jurors (12 assigned and four alternates) that Weier was delusional at the time of the May 2014 attack and went after Leutner because Weier feared the internet character Slender Man. Weier has pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree homicide, meaning she admits she took part in the attack; this trial will determine if she can be held criminally responsible, which will impact whether she heads to prison or a mental hospital.

"Anissa's broken mind caused her to lose touch with reality," Weier's defense attorney told jurors Tuesday, adding she'd been a loner who developed a "delusional belief system" with co-defendant Morgan Geyser, believing they could become Slender Man's proxies by murdering Leutner, per the AP. Waukesha County Assistant DA Kevin Osborne refuted that, noting Weier had intended to carry out the attack herself but instead instructed Geyser to do it, which he sees as an indication she knew it was wrong. Weier's father took the stand as a defense witness and said while his daughter had gone through rough times during his divorce, "in my opinion, she was a normal child." Geyser, who's been diagnosed with schizophrenia, has pleaded not guilty to being a party to attempted first-degree homicide and will go to trial Oct. 9. (Read more Slender Man stories.)

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