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Two Wisconsin girls in Slenderman case to appear in court hearings

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[December 18, 2014]  By Brendan O'Brien
 (Reuters) - Two Wisconsin girls will be in court on Thursday for hearings to determine if they are fit to stand trial on charges that they lured a classmate into the woods and repeatedly stabbed her to please Slenderman, a fictional Internet character.

Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier were both 12 when they were charged as adults with first-degree attempted homicide in the attack on their friend the morning after a sleepover in May in Waukesha, a suburb west of Milwaukee.

The girls told investigators they attacked their classmate to impress Slenderman, a tall, online bogeyman that they insisted was real, according to a criminal complaint.

The victim was stabbed 19 times but survived. She returned to school in September, a family spokesman said.

Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren ruled Geyser incompetent on Aug. 1 and committed her to a state health services facility, where she was held and treated.

On Nov. 18, Bohren unsealed an expert report that found Geyser mentally competent to stand trial. Her attorney requested and was granted a competency hearing, set for Thursday, when he is expected to challenge the findings.

Weier, who is now 13, was found competent to stand trial under mental evaluations released publicly in court on Oct. 22. Weier's attorneys objected to the findings and Bohren scheduled a competency hearing for her for Thursday.

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Wisconsin law requires attempted homicide cases involving suspects at least 10 years old to begin in adult court before attorneys can ask a judge to move the case to juvenile court.

The girls could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison if convicted of attempted homicide as adults. They could be held until age 25 if convicted as juveniles.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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