A teenage girl who pleaded guilty to trying to kill her friend as a way of appeasing the fictional character "Slender Man" will be committed to a psychiatric hospital for 25 years.
A Wisconsin judge on Thursday ordered Anissa Weier, 16, to spend the next two and a half decades in the Winnebago Mental Health Institute. Weier had faced a charge of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, but in an August deal with prosecutors pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree homicide due to mental illness or defect.
Weier's case began in 2014, when she and a friend, Morgan Geyser, stabbed another girl, Peyton Leutner, 19 times. Leutner survived and crawled out of the woods, where a bicyclist found her.
Weier and Geyser later said they said they carried out the attack in an attempt to appease Slender Man, a kind of online boogeyman that is often photoshopped into old pictures. The character is typically described as tall and faceless, has prompted abundant fan fiction, and in stories is sometimes associated with disappearing children or people going crazy.
All of the girls were 12-years-old at the time of the stabbing. Geyser, now 15, pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree intentional homicide in October but has not been sentenced yet.
During Thursday's hearing, Weier told the judge that she was sorry for the stabbing.
"I want everybody involved to know that I deeply regret everything that happened that day," she added.
Weier had agree to be committed in a mental health facility as part of her deal with prosecutors. During Thursday's hearing, prosecutors said that Leutner continues to suffer from the attack, and that Weier deserved to spend the maximum amount of time, which is 25 years, committed.
"It’s not a long time in terms of the fact that Peyton is looking at a lifetime of scars and psychological scarring, physical scaring that she’s going to have to deal with," Waukesha County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Osborne said in court. "So saying that 25 years is a long time pales in comparison to that."
However, defense attorney Maura McMahon countered that a 25-year commitment would be twice as long as Weier had been alive at the time of the stabbing.
"To me that doesn't make sense," McMahon added.
McMahon recommended a 10-year commitment.
Before handing down Thursday's sentence, Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren said "the dynamics of this case are simply tragic." He also mentioned Leutner's many scars and the hours of surgery doctors performed to save her life.
Bohren, who ultimately sided with prosecutors, went on to describe the crime as a "planned murder, by kids."