The second of two girls involved in the Slender Man stabbing in May 2014 near Milwaukee has been sentenced to 40 years in a mental institution.
Morgan Geyser, 15, originally pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree intentional homicide last fall. She is first eligible to ask for release in six months, according to her attorney, who said the teen will be returning to the Winnebago Mental Health Institute.Her plea deal stipulated she was not responsible for the crime by reason of mental disease or defect.
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According to prosecutors in Wisconsin, Geyser and her friend Anissa Weier lured classmate Payton Leutner to a Waukesha Park and stabbed her 19 times.
Geyser and Weier later told investigators they attacked Leutner so they could become proxies of the online horror character Slender Man.
Leutner was left with a total of 25 scars on her body, 19 from the crime itself and six others from surgeries to repair her heart, diaphragm, liver, stomach and pancreas.
All three girls were just 12 years old at the time of the stabbing.
Prosecutor Ted Szczupakiewicz began the sentencing hearing by calling psychologist Brooke Lumdbohm to the witness stand.
Lundbohm said she reviewed Geyser's medical records both before and after the stabbing. She also interviewed Geyser, with the most recent interview happening in October, 2017.
"It was my opinion she was suffering under the effects of a psychotic spectrum disorder at the time the offense occurred," Lundbohm said.
Lundbohm said Geyser was hallucinating about voices from an imaginary person she called "Maggie" as recently as last fall.
She added Geyser showed progress when consistently being treated and taking medications at a mental institution.
However, when transferred from the mental institution to a juvenile detention facility, Lundbohm said Geyser's condition would deteriorate.
"It's my opinion that, released to a less-restrictive environment at this point, would constitute a substantial risk of bodily harm to herself, to others, or to property," Lundbohm said.
Geyser's attorneys called psychologist Kenneth Robbins to the stand.
He said he's seen significant improvement in Geyser since the immediate aftermath of the stabbing.
"It's a dramatic turnaround," Robbins said.
"When I first met Morgan, she had a pretty hard shell. She did not appear to have any clear empathy for the young woman who was victimized," Robbins said. "That all has really transformed."
Robbins said he doesn't think Geyser is ready to return home, but added she should be a candidate for conditional release in the future if her symptoms remain minimal and she continues to take the proper medications.
Robbins said he doesn't think Geyser is a danger to herself, others or to property.
Szczupakiewicz asked Judge Michael Bohren to commit Geyser to a mental hospital for the maximum sentence of 40 years.
"Really judge, it's a miracle Payton is still with us, and that she survived this," the prosecutor said.
Geyser's attorney, Anthony Cotton, asked for a sentence in the range of 25 years.
He said Geyser is 15, so he thinks putting her under state supervision until she's 40-years old is a fair outcome.
A tearful Geyser spoke to the court briefly before the sentence was handed down.
"I just want to let (the victim) and her family know that I'm sorry," Geyser said. "I hope that she's doing well."
Weier, who pleaded guilty to a lesser charge but was found not legally responsible for the stabbing by reason of mental illness in a jury trial last year, was sentenced to 25 years of state supervision.
She's currently in a mental hospital. Weier will be eligible for release beginning in 2020 when she turns 18, depending on whether or not doctors confirm that she will not be a harm to herself or society.
If released, Weier will remain under state supervision until age 37