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Friday morning brings closing arguments in The Slender Man trial. Anissa Weier, 15, admits she helped try to kill a classmate in 2014, but she’s fighting to avoid prison time. The defendant admitted to playing a role in attempted second-degree intentional homicide, and pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors in August. The questions for the jurors in Waukesha County, Wisconsin was weather she was mentally ill or not. If the jury agrees with the defense, she’ll be committed to a mental hospital for at least three years. If jurors side with the state, however, she’ll spend at least 10 years behind bars.
Authorities say she and co-defendant Morgan Geyser lured a classmate, another 12-year-old girl, to a park in Milwaukee. The victim was stabbed 19 times. She survived. The case captured national attention because of the alleged motive: the suspects wanted to placate the Slender Man, a fictional creature of internet lore. Weier’s defense says she suffered from a mental illness, and it interfered with her judgment. Prosecutors claim she participated in the attempted murder for the sake of her friendship with Geyser.
Both sides rested their cases on Thursday after the final witnesses.
Jeffrey Taege, one of Weier’s former teachers, testified first. He said he was unaware of the defendant talking about the Slender Man with other students.
Dr. Gregory Van Rybroek, a professor of psychology at UW-Madison, testified next. He said he interviewed Weier, and argued she was delusional during the stabbing. In her mind, the Slender Man was real, and she was saving herself and her family by participating in the stabbing. He argued that she thought the act was moral, although she understood it was also illegal.
“In her mind, she was acting out of a sense of altruism, that she was saving someone,” he said.
The jury is expected to start deliberations on Friday, after closing arguments.
Both Weier and Geyser were originally charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Geyser, who is accused of doing the stabbing, pleaded not guilty, and her trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 9.
EDITOR’S NOTE: CORRECTION Anissa Weier entered a guilty plea to second degree intentional homicide as part of her deal with prosecutors. The story has been changed to reflect that fact.
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