(WAUKESHA, Wis.) — A Wisconsin judge said Monday “there is reason to doubt” the competency of a 12-year-old girl to go on trial for allegedly stabbing a classmate 19 times to please the fictional character “Slender Man.”
The judge ordered Anissa Weier to undergo a 30-day psychological evaluation to determine her competency. The prosecution did not object.
Weier, 12, and her friend, Morgan Geyser, are both charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the May 31 attack. Judge Michael Bohren has already determined that Geyser is not competent at this time to stand trial following a series of psychological exams.
Earlier this month, Weier’s attorney, Assistant State Public Defender Joseph Smith Jr., sent a letter to the judge saying his client met with a forensic psychologist, and that “in his professional opinion, she is not presently competent to proceed.”
Before issuing his ruling Monday, Bohren said, “There is reason to doubt Ms. Weier’s competency to proceed.”
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,” he 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, who is unrelated to this case, 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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