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Judge rules Wisconsin girl in Slenderman case not mentally competent

By Brendan O'Brien

WAUKESHA Wis. (Reuters) - A Wisconsin girl accused of luring a friend into the woods and repeatedly stabbing her to please Slenderman, a fictional Internet character, is not mentally competent to stand trial, a judge ruled on Friday.

The girl, Morgan Geyser, and her friend, Anissa Weier, both 12, have been charged as adults with first-degree attempted homicide. They are accused of luring a classmate into the woods and stabbing her 19 times in late May in Waukesha, a western suburb of Milwaukee, the morning after a sleepover.

The girls told investigators they attacked their friend, also 12, to impress Slenderman, a tall, fictional bogeyman popular on the Internet that they insisted was real, according to a criminal complaint.

The victim, whose identity has not been made public, spent six days in the hospital and then went home for further recovery, according to her family.

Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren ordered Geyser to be committed to the state's department of health services, based on testimony from two mental health professionals, who told the court that Geyser lacks the capacity to assist in her own defense.

Geyser's primary concern is her relationship with Slenderman and she does not care about a possibly long prison sentence, testified Kenneth Robbins, a psychiatrist who evaluated her.

"She does have concern about angering Slenderman and so she has to be careful about what she says," he said. Psychologist Brooke Lundbohm testified that Geyser told her during an evaluation that she sees unicorns, has mind control powers and believes Voldemort, a villain in the "Harry Potter" book series, gave her directions and that Slenderman is real.

"She presently lacks substantial mental capacity to rationally and factually understand her charge and be a meaningful assistance in her defense," Lundbohm testified.

Lundbohm testified Geyser likely could become competent, depending on her growth, treatment for her psychiatric disorder and her ability to gain an understanding of trial court.

Also on Friday, a probable cause hearing against Weier was set for Sept. 17 and Sept. 18. A status hearing for Geyser was set for Nov. 12.

Wisconsin law requires attempted homicide cases involving suspects at least 10 years old to begin in adult court before attorneys can ask a judge to move the case to juvenile court.

The girls face up to 60 years in prison if convicted as adults of attempted homicide. They could be incarcerated to age 25 if they are convicted as juveniles under Wisconsin law.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott and Sandra Maler)

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