Jury reaches verdict in Slender Man trial
WAUKESHA, Wis. —A jury has reached a verdict in the first Slender Man trial. The jurors had to decide whether…
WAUKESHA, Wis. —
A jury has reached a verdict in the first Slender Man trial.
The jurors had to decide whether Anissa Weier was mentally ill when she and Morgan Geyser stabbed a classmate, Payton Leutner, 19 times in May 2014 in order to win the favor of the fictional character Slender Man.
Jurors asked to see Weier’s police interrogation video from 2014. Judge Michael Bohren approved the request but said it needed to be played in open court. They watch about 20 minutes of it and then resumed deliberations.
Earlier in the day, attorneys gave closing arguments.
“It comes down to, did she have to or did she want to? If you find she had to. If she
really believed Slender Man was going to kill her or her family, well then
maybe she couldn’t comply with the requirements of the law. But this wasn’t a had to. This wasn’t a kill or be killed,” Waukesha County Assistant District Attorney Ted Szczupakiewicz said.
“Together, they drifted deeper and deeper into this belief until sucked down by the whirlpool of the web. Their unformed minds and their mental health disorders, it eliminated their ability to control their own behavior,” Weier’s attorney, Maura McMahon, said. “At 12 years old, she had no way to protect herself from this except to follow Morgan’s advice, and they swirled down into madness together.
Weier, 15, has already admitted to taking part in the crime with Geyser, but the jury has to decide if Weier was so mentally ill she should be sentenced to a mental institution, instead of prison.
>> Full Coverage: WISN.com/slender-man
Both Weier and Geyser were charged with being a party to attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Weier struck a deal with prosecutors in August in which she pleaded guilty to being a party to attempted second-degree intentional homicide, essentially acknowledging she committed all the elements of the offense. But she also pleaded not guilty due to mental illness of defect, setting up the trial on her mental status.
Judge Michael Bohren told jurors they must decide whether Weier had a mental illness at the time of the crime and if so, whether she lacked the capacity to understand her wrongful conduct.
Psychologists testified at a previous court hearing that Weier suffered from persistent depression and a delusional disorder linked to schizotypy, a diminished ability to separate reality from fantasy.
At least 10 of the 12 jurors must agree on a verdict. The jury is made up of seven men and five women.
Geyser has pleaded not guilty to being a party to first-degree attempted homicide. Her trial is set to begin Oct. 9.
Source: 4029 Northwest Arkansas News Jury reaches verdict in Slender Man trial