(WAUKESHA, Wis.) — The second Wisconsin girl accused of stabbing a classmate 19 times, allegedly to please the fictional character “Slender Man,” is unfit to stand trial, her lawyer contends.
Anissa Weier, 12, will be back in court Monday. She and her friend, Morgan Geyser, are both charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the May 31 attack.
In a letter to Judge Michael Bohren, Weier’s attorney, Assistant State Public Defender Joseph Smith Jr., said his client met with a forensic psychologist, and that “in his professional opinion, she is not presently competent to proceed.” That same argument worked for Geyser last month, when Bohren ordered her to receive treatment after two mental health experts said she was incompetent.
The survivor’s spokesman, Stephen Lyons of the Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. law firm, told ABC News that the girl’s family stands behind prosecutors’ efforts.
“They have the full confidence in the DA and his team and the judicial system that ultimately justice will be served,” Lyons said.
The 12-year-old survivor has remained anonymous since the attack on May 31, when she managed to attract the attention of a passing bicyclist. An online fundraising page — “Hearts for Healing” — has raised more than $60,000 for her recovery efforts. Additionally, thousands of people have sent the girl homemade hearts, messages of hope made of construction paper, fabric and wool.
She’s back at school now and making major strides, Lyons said.
“On May 31, this little girl was lured into the woods and stabbed 19 times. At that point, she was a victim…and today she is a survivor,” Lyons said. “And that’s how we refer to her and to the family: They’re survivors. They rose above this horrific crime and they survived. And she is thriving.
“What an ultimate testimony of the human heart to know she can both physically heal and then emotionally begin this journey of healing,” Lyons added.
ABC News Chief Legal Affairs Anchor Dan Abrams said the main goal for the suspects’ attorneys is to get the case transferred to juvenile court, which requires a waiver for children above the age of 10 who face murder or attempted murder charges.
It’s unlikely that both of the suspects will avoid trial or a criminal punishment, Abrams said.
“Incompetent does not mean insane. Incompetence is generally supposed to be a temporary state,” Abrams said. “The treatment is supposed to bring the defendant to a state of competence so they can be tried.”
Attorney Wendy Murphy said the judge has a duty to get a complete understanding of the suspects’ mental state.
“The defense benefits greatly from putting the brakes on. And in a case like this, fighting about competency is one of the ways to put the brakes on,” Murphy said.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
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