Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier led their friend, Payton Leutner, into a park in Waukesha, Wisconsin, with the intent to kill her. Geyser stabbed Leutner 19 times and left her for dead while Weier cheered her on. All three girls were 12-years-old at the time.
Leutner survived the attack and crawled toward a bike path where she was found by a cyclist. Weier and Geyser were arrested. Upon further investigation, the young girls told police they stabbed Leutner to appease an online urban legend known as “Slender Man.”
At the time, Weier and Geyser were charged with first-degree attempted murder, which carries a sentence of up to 65 years in prison. CNN reported both assailants will spend the remainder of their sentences in a state mental institution.
In a brief press conference Friday, Donna Kuchler, Geyser’s lawyer, said her client accepted a plea deal to plead guilty to first-degree attempted murder. She will not be tried in court.
— Emily Z. Media (@emilyzmedia) September 29, 2017
Kuchler told members of the press, in a video that was posted on Twitter, the plea deal was reached in the best interest of the victim and her family:
“It’s been a tragic experience for everyone. Our hearts go out to the victim and her family. And we’re very grateful that the district attorney’s office gave this case the considering it deserves.”
As previously reported by Dearly, Weier took a plea deal and pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted homicide. She was found not guilty after a jury deemed she was mentally ill at the time of the attack and was sentenced to three years in a mental institution.
Fox 6 reported that, unlike Weier, Geyser will not be sentenced in court. Geyser will undergo a mental evaluation by doctors to determine how long her sentence will be.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Geyser was diagnosed with early-onset schizophrenia before the trial began. It is unclear whether or not Weier is suffering from a mental illness.
During Weier’s trial, as WQOW reported, Weier told the court she wanted to kill Leutner because she was afraid of Slender Man:
“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.”
According to ABC, Slender Man is an online fictional character that started as a meme in 2009. Online users started to edit him into the background of pictures with children playing.
The Leutner family released a statement after Weier’s sentencing, and it was published by People:
We are disappointed in the jury’s decision. The decision allows the assailant to petition the court every six months and request release into the community. Their decision also forces our family to relive this horrific crime every six months wondering if they will be released.
The victim and her family were also in the courtroom for Geyer’s hearing. They declined to release a statement to the Journal Sentinel at the time. Geyser’s plea deal will be finalized this coming Thursday.
Watch the full court hearing below, via Fox 6.