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The two teenage girls accused of stabbing their friend to please the fictional character Slender Man, were declared fit to stand trial by a judge on Thursday. The two girls who were both 12-years-old, allegedly stabbed a girl 19 times, in a Waukesha County park, Wisconsin.
Slender Man began as an internet meme, and was created in response to a web forum’s request for a terrifying modern myth. The two teenage girls were planning to kill their victim, before walking to find Slender Man’s mansion which they believed was in national forest.
According to court documents the two girls had spent several months planning to murder their 12-year-old friend before attacking her in the park on May, 31, this year. The victim survived and was found by a passing cyclist who notified police. The teenage girls were found several hours later, and were subsequently charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide.
Although both the defendants’ lawyers tried to have the case heard in a juvenile court, by Wisconsin law children older than 10 who are accused of murder and attempted murder are tried as adults. According to a June NBC News report, one of the attorneys asked that a mental health examination be conducted on the girl he was defending to determine if she was mentally competent to stand trial.
During a subsequent court hearing, a psychologist testified that throughout an interview the girl had displayed bizarre behavior and was laughing almost hysterically. She added that the girl believed in the existence and abilities of fictional characters other than Slender Man, such as those seen in the Star Trek and Harry Potter series. The judge then ruled that the girl was not mentally competent, and that she must undergo treatment.
On Thursday, Waukesha County Circuit judge Michael Bohren, oversaw two consecutive hearings to determine if the teenagers, who allegedly stabbed another girl in order to please the fictional Slender Man, were fit to stand trial. During the first hearing psychologists Anthony Jurek and Michael Caldwell told the court that over the course of several interviews with the now 13-year-old girl they had concluded that despite her obvious intelligence, she did not understand the workings of the criminal justice system and had difficulty making rational decisions, particularly under pressure.
When testifying for the state, psychiatrist Robert Rawski told the court he believed the girl to be very capable. Assistant district attorney Ted Szczupakiewicz, concurred with Rawski’s opinion saying that he believed the girl had correctly answered questions about the legal process.
Ruling on the first case involving the 13-year-old girl, Judge Bohren said he was satisfied that her age and level of maturity did not adversely affect her competency. “She’s competent to make the decisions that have to be made,” he said.
The second hearing for the 12-year-old girl who had previously been ordered to undergo mental health treatment lasted only a few minutes. Although defense attorney Anthony Cotton told the court that the girl had schizophrenia, he did not challenge a November report by psychiatrist Kenneth Casimir, which said the girl’s mental health had improved. Cotton later admitted to reporters that he did not have a strong argument against Casimir’s report.
Based on his belief in the credibility of Casimir’s report, the judge ruled that the second girl was also fit to stand trial. As both teenagers have now been declared fit to stand trial for the attack that they said was carried out to please the fictional character Slender Man, a preliminary hearing has been set for February during which the judge will determine wether there is enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial. If the two girls are tried as adults and are found guilty of the charges, they may face a jail term of up to 60 years.
By Monica Grant
Photo by Rae Allen – Flickr Page