The second of two young Wisconsin girls accused of trying to kill a classmate to please horror character Slender Man entered Friday a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to an attempted homicide charge.
The 14-year-old girl changed her previous not-guilty plea during a 15-minute proceeding in Waukesha County Circuit Court. Judge Michael Bohren appointed two doctors to examine the girl, who sat silently during the proceedings. The judge ordered the doctors to turn in a report on her mental status by Oct. 6.
Both the girl and 14-year-old Morgan Geyser face one count of first-degree attempted intentional homicide as adults in connection with the May 2014 attack on classmate Payton Leutner. They face up to 40 years in prison and 20 years on extended supervision if convicted. Geyser pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect last month.
The girls' lawyers have worked to move them into juvenile court, where they could be incarcerated for three years and supervised until they turn 18. Juvenile proceedings are secret and The Associated Press hasn't named the girls in case they're waived back to that level. The attorneys have exhausted all avenues except for the state Supreme Court, however, and the AP has started using Geyser's name after her attorney said last month he has given up on juvenile court.
The second girl's attorney, Maura McMahon, didn't immediately return voicemail and email messages after court adjourned Friday asking if she planned to ask the Supreme Court to step in.
If the cases continue in adult court and defense attorneys and prosecutors agree the girls suffer from a mental disease, they would be committed to a mental hospital indefinitely, according to the second girl's attorney, Maura McMahon. If a dispute arises over their mental states, a hearing would ensue and a jury would ultimately make the decision.
Prosecutors say the girls planned for months to kill Leutner, either to gain favor with Slender Man and earn positions as his servants or to avoid his wrath. The girls lured Leutner to a wooded Waukesha park following a sleepover and stabbed her repeatedly before fleeing, according to investigators. Leutner crawled to a road where a bicyclist found her.
The 14-year-old girl and Geyser were captured on the outskirts of Waukesha. They said they were walking to a national forest in northern Wisconsin where they planned to join Slender Man at his mansion.
All three girls were 12 years old at the time. Anyone 10 or older charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide is automatically considered an adult under state law.
Both girls have asked Bohren for a jury from outside Waukesha County if the cases go to trial, citing heavy media coverage. They're due back in court Oct. 13 for a hearing on those requests.