One of the now-teenage defendants accused of trying to murder their classmate here in 2014 to please a fictional internet horror character has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease.
Morgan Geyser entered her plea - commonly referred to as an insanity defense - at an Aug. 19 hearing in Waukesha County Circuit Court alongside her co-defendant Anissa Weier. Weier did not enter a plea during the hearing, according to online court records.
Geyser was diagnosed with rare early-onset schizophrenia while she was being held in police custody for her alleged role in the incident. Judge Michael Bohren appointed two doctors to perform an evaluation on Geyser to determine whether her psychological condition supports her plea.
The news comes on the heels of a state Court of Appeals decision that found Geyser and Weier's cases should remain in adult court. It has been more than two years since both girls were charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide after allegedly plotting to kill then eventually stabbing their 12-year-old classmate Peyton Leutner 19 times and leaving her for dead near David's Park, along Waukesha's south side.
Court records indicate Geyser's attorney, Anthony Cotton, also intends to file a change of venue motion. Maura McMahon, Weier's attorney, said she's considering filing a similar motion as well.
A trial date for the cases could be scheduled no sooner than next March, court records show.
The potential penalties facing Geyser and Weier differ vastly, depending on which court adjudicates their cases. If convicted in adult court, the girls could face decades in prison; and if ruled delinquent in juvenile court, they could be incarcerated for up to three years then subjected to intensive community supervision and treatment until age 18.
However, the girls would serve the first years of any sentence and treatment, whether they are convicted as adults or juveniles, at Copper Lake School for Girls, according to testimony referenced in the Court of Appeals decision.
Both girls are being held at a juvenile detention facility in West Bend, court records show. Their next court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 13.