Attorneys for both girls also challenge alleged confession, state law
Attorneys for both girls accused of homicide in the Slender Man stabbing case recently filed a handful of motions requesting separate trials and challenging the admissibility of statements made by one of the girls and the constitutionality of a state law regarding the mental responsibility of a defendant.
The motions mark the latest development in the case which has stretched on in Waukesha County Circuit Court for about 2½ years and captured national attention.
Both defendants, now teenagers, were charged as adults in May 2014 in the nearly fatal stabbing of their then-12-year-old classmate whom the girls reportedly believed they were obliged to kill in order to please or assuage a fictional internet horror character named Slender Man. Both girls have entered insanity pleas to a charge of attempted first-degree intentional homicide.
In the motions, attorneys for Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier argued for their clients' cases to be "severed," or tried separately. They said evidence presented at a joint trial is likely to confuse or prejudice a jury about the alleged involvement of either girl.
Geyser's attorney, Anthony Cotton, also asserts that reportedly incriminating statements his client made to a Waukesha County sheriff's deputy and a city of Waukesha detective should be thrown out because she did not understand her Miranda rights or in fact waive them when talking to police.
"Ms. Geyser's age alone (12, at the time) makes it highly unlikely that she understood the privilege at issue and intelligently waived it," Cotton wrote in the motion.
Age is also an important factor in the motion challenging the constitutionality of Wisconsin's law regarding the mental responsibility of a defendant filed by Weier's attorneys Joseph Smith and Maura McMahon.
"Youth is more than just a chronological fact," they wrote. "Instead, chronological age and its hallmark features, such as immaturity, impetuosity and the failure to appreciate the risks and consequences of their actions, distinguish adolescents from adults."
"(C)riminal procedure laws that fail to take a defendant's 'youthfulness' into account at all would be flawed. However, (state statute) 971.15 (1)" - the law Smith and McMahon are challenging - "does just that," they concluded.
A judge has not ruled on the motions. Both girls, who are in custody at a juvenile detention facility in West Bend, are due back in court on Nov. 11.