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Pre-teen defendants in 'Slenderman' stabbing case due in court

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[July 02, 2014]  By Brendan O'Brien
 
 MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Two Wisconsin girls accused of luring a friend into the woods and stabbing her 19 times to please a fictional Internet character are due back in court on Wednesday where the mental competency of one may be addressed.

Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, both 12, were charged in June as adults with first-degree attempted homicide after they allegedly attacked a classmate in a park in Waukesha, a western suburb of Milwaukee.

Geyser's family and prosecutors both commissioned mental competency exams, which may be raised during Wednesday's hearing in Waukesha County Circuit Court, attorneys said.

The evaluations will remain sealed, but the conclusions are expected to be briefly discussed in court, said attorney Anthony Cotton, who represents Geyser.

Cotton has asked the court to move forward with the pretrial proceedings regardless of Geyser's competency. If she is found competent, the case moves forward automatically, he said.

If Geyser is found incompetent, she would go through treatment, which could be a long process involving medication and therapy, Cotton said.

Weier's attorney, Joseph Smith, could not be reached immediately for comment.

Cotton hopes ultimately that the case will be moved to juvenile court, away from the media and public, but that issue will not be in front of the court on Wednesday, he said.

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 face up to 60 years in prison if convicted as adults of attempted homicide. They could be incarcerated to age 25 if they are convicted as juveniles under Wisconsin law.

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Weier and Geyser are accused of luring their classmate into the woods on May 31 and stabbing her repeatedly with a kitchen knife. They told investigators they stabbed her to impress Slenderman, a tall, creepy fictional bogeyman they insisted was real, according to a criminal complaint.

The girl they stabbed spent six days in the hospital before being released and is now recovering at home, according to her family. Her identity has not been made public.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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