WAUKESHA, Wis. – Two young girls accused of stabbing their classmate to please the horror character Slender Man must stand trial as adults for attempted homicide, a judge ruled Friday.
Both girls face a count of being a party to attempted first-degree intentional homicide with a dangerous weapon enhancer, which automatically places them in adult court under Wisconsin law. They each could face up to 65 years in the state prison system if convicted. Both defendants and the victim, Payton Leutner, were 12 at the time of the incident.
“Probable cause exists that (the defendants) both attempted to kill P.L. with a dangerous weapon,” Judge Michael Bohren said.
Both girls’ attorneys have argued that the girls legitimately believed they had to kill Leutner to protect their families from Slender Man’s wrath. Anthony Cotton, an attorney for one of the girls, called his client a schizophrenic in court Friday.
The defence teams asked Bohren to dismiss the charges during a hearing last month. They contended second-degree attempted intentional homicide would be a more fitting charge because the girls, as misguided as they were, thought they were defending themselves and their loved ones from Slender Man by attacking Leutner.
Second-degree attempted intentional homicide is a lesser crime that prosecutors would have to pursue in juvenile court. The girls could be held in the juvenile system only until they turn 25.
After delivering a half-an-hour analysis Friday of statutes governing homicide charges and potential defences, Bohren rejected the self-defence claims. He noted that the girls also thought killing Leutner would make them Slender Man’s servants, earn them the right to live in his mansion and prove to others the creature was real. Those motivations outweigh self-defence, he said.
The girls’ attorneys promised Friday to keep trying to move the case into the juvenile system. Bohren set hearings on transferring the girls for May and June.
Prosecutors allege the girls had plotted for months to kill their friend. They coaxed her into attending a sleepover at one of their homes in May and the next morning lured her into a wooded park. They stabbed her 19 times and then fled, according to court documents.
The Associated Press isn’t naming either of the girls charged in case they end up in juvenile court, where proceedings are closed to the public.