It was a juvenile crime that rocked the nation.
Two twelve-year-old girls planned to kill their friend for months. Then, they would lure her to the woods and stab her 19 times before leaving her to die.
Do you remember the story we covered in 2014 about girls whose belief in “Slender man” lead to this gruesome crime?
You may have heard about the Slender Man legend, a fictional character created for the website Creepypasta.
You may not connect the two until the story of Payton Leutner and her former friends and attackers Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier hit national headlines.
Payton recently spoke to ABC news for the first time since the attacks. She is now 17-years-old and a high school senior.
The girl who came within a millimeter of death plans to work in the medical field when she grows up. Although she also understands why these girls did what they did, she thinks the world is safer with them locked away.
Juvenile Crime: Geyser and Weier Tried As Adults
On May 31, 2014, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier told Payton they wanted to go for a walk in the woods and play hide and seek. They told Payton to lie down and cover herself with leaves and sticks.
Then Morgan Geyser attacked Payton with a kitchen knife while Anissa Weier looked on. Geyser stabbed Payton 19 times, and then the girls left, telling Payton they’d find help.
Instead, they walked across town, where they were eventually found by police sitting by the side of I-94.
Payton says she didn’t feel anything because her body was in shock. However, she managed to drag herself to a patch of grass in a more visible location before lying down again.
A passing cyclist found her and called 911.
Major controversy ensued when Geyser and Weier were taken into custody, questioned alone, and each tried as an adult for attempted murder.
Both girls immediately confessed to the crime. In an unusual legal twist, both girls were found to be not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.
Anissa Weier pleaded guilty to a lesser charge than attempted murder and was found not guilty in 2017.
Morgan Geyser pleaded guilty to the charges against her. However, in 2018 she entered a plea agreement where she was convicted but found not guilty.
Weier is currently serving 25 years in a mental health institution, and Geyser is serving 40 years, but she is already eligible to petition for early release.
How Slender Man Played a Role
While in custody, Morgan Geyser was diagnosed with early-onset schizophrenia in 2016.
Her father had been in and out of mental health institutions for the same thing as a teenager.
In her interview, Payton recalls how she befriended Morgan in sixth grade because she didn’t have a friend, and how the relationship became scary when Morgan started hanging out with Anissa.
They both had become obsessed with the Slender Man character, and Morgan’s stories about him sometimes scared Payton so much that she wanted to get out of the friendship.
The sad truth is that Morgan and Anissa’s mental health problems found an outlet in this fictional character. They believed they could impress this character by committing murder.
Who could ever have foretold that two twelve-year-old girls would stab their best friend without any warning?
Juvenile Crime Attorney
It can be challenging to leave a mental health institution like the ones where Geyser and Weier are serving their time.
Even though Morgan Geyser is eligible to petition to be set free, it’s not that easy.
If you are or a loved one is serving a long sentence for a juvenile crime; please call my office today. Let’s get you on the road toward reclaiming your life.