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One of the Wisconsin girls involved in the stabbing of a classmate after she said she’d become transfixed with the Slender Man internet character is now seeking an early release from a mental hospital.
Anissa Weier, 19, is requesting a conditional release following her 2017 conviction in the stabbing of her 12-year-old friend, Payton Leutner. Weier is expected to appear in Waukesha County Circuit Court on Wednesday.
In 2014, Weier and her friend Morgan Geyser led Leutner into a forest after a slumber party and stabbed her 19 times. The two girls then abandoned Leutner in the woods as she bled out. A cyclist rescued Leutner after discovering her in the grass.
The teenage girls, who were tried as adults, were convicted for the near-fatal knife attack in 2017.
Weier and Geyser were apparently infatuated with the online fictional character Slender Man, telling investigators they’d plotted Leutner’s stabbing to appease the fake supernatural entity. Their case drew international attention.
“I believed that if I didn’t go through with it, Slenderman would come and attack and kill myself, my friends and my family,” Weier told the court, according to the Associated Press. “Those I cared about the most.”
Weier pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree intentional homicide and was sentenced to 25 years in a state institution. A jury had concluded she wasn’t criminally responsible due to mental illness. She has spent the past three and half years at Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh, according to NBC Chicago.
Geyser has handed a 40-year-sentence.
Weier’s early release petition hinges on a Waukesha circuit judge’s determination of whether she poses a “significant risk" to herself or the public.
"It was a planned murder by kids," Judge Michael Bohren, who originally presided over the case, said in 2017. "We can't forget the goal was to kill."
Bohren will listen to the testimony of medical experts who’ve recently examined Weier. The teenager has visual and auditory hallucinations, Reuters reported.
During Weier’s sentencing, it was revealed that she’d been using a Ouija board while incarcerated and was supposedly still experiencing Slender Man delusions.
The Slender Man character originated as an internet meme more than a decade ago.
The first known images of the shadowy, suit-clad humanoid character appeared on the satirical site SomethingAwful.com in 2009 as part of a Photoshopping contest. Eric Knudsen has largely been credited as the myth’s creator. His images became a viral phenomenon and triggered a cult following that inspired films, documentaries, mockumentaries, comic books, video games, and Halloween costumes.
Years later, the stabbing still haunts Leutner, who survived the attack. She told ABC News' David Muir that she still sleeps with a pair of broken scissors under her pillow. However, she said that the ordeal has led her to plan for the rest of her life.
“Without the whole situation, I wouldn't be who I am,” Leutner told Muir in 2019.
"I've come to accept all of the scars that I have," she added. "It's just a part of me. I don't think much of them. They will probably go away and fade eventually."
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