Decision on other motions still pending
A Waukesha County Circuit Court judge on Monday, Dec. 12, ruled that the teenage defendants in the long-running Slender Man stabbing case will be tried separately.
The decision from Judge Michael Bohren came at the end of a hearing Monday for Morgan Geyser, one of the two girls accused of attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the case.
Attorneys for Geyser and Anissa Weier, the other defendant, sought the ruling – called a severance – because they said evidence presented at a joint trial is likely to confuse or prejudice a jury about the alleged involvement of either girl.
Bohren agreed, but his ruling on several additional motions, including the admissibility of statements the girls made to police, remains pending. He is expected to deliver that decision in February.
The Dec. 12 hearing marked the last time Geyser is scheduled to appear in court this year. Weier is scheduled to appear once more on Dec. 22. Since a hearing late last month, the girls have not been scheduled to appear jointly for future hearings.
Geyser and Weier 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 to please or assuage a fictional internet horror character named Slender Man. Both girls have entered pleas of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect – commonly referred to as insanity defenses.
Even though the victim, Payton Leutner, was stabbed 19 times, she somehow survived and recovered in time to attend school in the fall 2014.
Attorneys for Geyser and Weier are also seeking to impanel a non-Waukesha County jury for both girls, arguing that extensive and ongoing media coverage of the case has tainted the local juror pool.
Regardless, their trials have not been scheduled, according to online court records. Geyser and Weier will not appear for juries until next summer at the earliest – three years after their cases began.
If convicted, they could be sentenced to up to 45 years in prison.