When Morgan Geyser was 12 years old, she and her friend Anissa Weier lured their sixth-grade classmate, Payton Leutner, to a park in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and stabbed her. Now, Geyser is asking the court to release her from a mental health facility.
The girls were having a sleepover prior to traveling to the park on that late spring day in 2014. Once there, Geyser stabbed Leutner 19 times while Weier encouraged her. Geyser and Weier left the scene, but Leutner survived and managed to crawl her way out of the woods, eventually found by a bicyclist who called for help. Geyser and Weier were picked up by police later in the day.
The two girls told police that they believed the fictional monster “Slender Man” would kill their families if they didn’t kill Leutner. The girls said that when police found them, they were on their way to Slender Man’s mansion in northern Wisconsin, according to the Associated Press.
Geyser was charged with attempted first-degree homicide, while Weier was charged with attempted second-degree homicide for her role in the crime. The two girls were set to be tried as adults, due to the nature of the crime.
In 2017, Weier pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree intentional homicide, and a jury found her “not guilty by mental disease or defect.” She was sent to the Winnebago Mental Health Institute as part of her 25 years to life sentence. In September 2021, Weier was granted a conditional release and ordered to wear a GPS monitor while living with her father, the AP reported.
Geyser, now 20, asked Waukesha County Judge Michael Bohren earlier this month to release her as well. Like Weier, Geyser has spent four years in a mental health facility, though she was sentenced to 40 years to life. Complicating Geyser’s sentence was a diagnosis of schizophrenia, which she inherited from her father. At the time of the stabbing, Geyser had not been diagnosed yet.
“A psychiatrist hired by her attorneys previously testified that Geyser believed she could communicate telepathically with Slender Man and could see and hear other fictional characters, including unicorns and characters from the Harry Potter and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. She also believed she had ‘Vulcan mind control,’” the AP reported when Geyser was sentenced in 2018.
“During a hearing Thursday, Bohren appointed three doctors to evaluate Geyser’s mental state and to submit their reports by Aug. 26. Prosecutors and defense attorneys will return to court on Sept. 12 to schedule another hearing to review the reports,” the AP reported this week.
If Geyser is released, she will likely have similar restrictions as Weier.
In 2019, Leutner, the victim, told ABC’s “20/20” that she has “come to accept all of the scars that I have.”
“It’s just a part of me. I don’t think much of them. They will probably go away and fade eventually,” she told the outlet.
Leutner said at the time that she had befriended Geyser and stayed her friend because she seemed lonely, and that she considered Geyser her best friend prior to becoming friends with Weier. Leutner also said during that same interview that she would probably “thank” Geyser after being asked what she would like her attacker to know.
“I would probably, initially thank her,” Leutner said. “I would say, ‘Just because of what she did, I have the life I have now. I really, really like it and I have a plan. I didn’t have a plan when I was 12, and now I do because of everything that I went through.'”
“I wouldn’t think that someone who went through what I did would ever say that,” Leutner added. “But that’s truly how I feel. Without the whole situation, I wouldn’t be who I am.”