WAUKESHA, Wis. (USA Today) - A judge Thursday set the length of a mental commitment for a 15-year-old girl convicted in the Slender Man stabbing case at 25 years.
Anissa Weier, 15, will be sent off to Winnebago Mental Health Institute, where she will spend at least three years before she can seek supervised release.
Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren's ruling means that whenever Weier is approved for release, she will remain under state supervsion for 25 years. The judge followed the prosecution recommendation of the maximum length of supervision. She would be 40 years old when the state's supervision would end.
Weier's defense attorneys had recommended a period of 10 years.
Weier and Morgan Geyser were just 12 when they stabbed their friend Payton Leitner 19 times and left her to die in some woods after a sleepover. They later told investigators they had plotted the shocking offense to please Slender Man, an internet boogeyman who they believed would kill their families if they didn't carry out the crime.
They were arrested within hours. Charged as adults with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, their cases moved slowly. Experts tested their legal competency, and their lawyers fought unsuccessfully to have the case moved to juvenile court, suppress their statements to detectives, or have them released pending trial before they both finally entered insanity pleas.
Weier's lawyers worked out a plea: She would plead guilty to attempted second-degree intentional homicide, then try her insanity defense to a jury in what's known as a penalty phase trial. If the jury found her not criminally responsible, she agreed she would not seek release from secure mental treatment for three years.
If the jury rejected her defense, prosecutors said, they would recommend only 10 years in prison, less than half the 25-year maximum. Ultimately the jury found her not criminally responsible.
Geyser pleaded guilty to the original charge, which carried a possible maximum sentence of 45 years in prison, but prosecutors agreed she was not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.
Geyser had been diagnosed with early onset schizophrenia during legal competency exams in 2014. Despite becoming increasingly symptomatic in jail, she didn't get treatment until she was committed by a different judge in a separate civil proceeding in December 2015.
Since her arrest, Weier has been held on $500,000 bail at a West Bend juvenile jail, where family members try to visit nearly every day. Geyser, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia early in the case, was eventually committed to a state mental hospital through a separate civil proceeding with a different judge.