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Detective shares victim's account in Slender Man stabbing case

WISN Milwaukee logo WISN Milwaukee 9/14/2017
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For the first time, a detective Wednesday shared the victim's account of what happened the day two Waukesha girls stabbed their friend nearly to death to try and please the fictional character Slender Man.

A Waukesha County jury will decide whether Anissa Weier was mentally competent when she and Morgan Geyser stabbed Payton Leutner, 19 times on Memorial Day 2014.

The detective who interviewed Leutner said the victim told her she was growing increasingly scared about Geyser and Weier's obsession with Slender Man, but was still shocked when her friends held her down and stabbed her.

"What did Payton say Morgan said before doing it (the stabbing)?" Weier defense attorney Joseph Smith asked Detective Shelly Fisher.

"Morgan had approached her. Payton was laying on her back, so Morgan sat on her legs and got real close to her, and she said 'I'm sorry,' and then started stabbing her," Fisher said.

Leutner also told the detective that in the weeks leading up to the stabbing, Geyser, especially, had become obsessed with Slender Man.

"She said she became scarier and scarier and weirder and weirder," Fisher said.

Weier's defense is trying to show that Geyser's mental illness influenced Weier so greatly that she came to believe in Slender Man, too.

But the detective who interviewed Weier during her arrest said, she's not so sure.

"She got her hopes up that Slender Man would be real. I don't know if she really truly believed that Slender Man was real, because she continually told me she wanted to prove the skeptics wrong," Waukesha police Detective Michelle Trussoni said.

Psychologist Dr. Melissa Westerdore, who examined Weier, also testified. She said it's just that type of follower behavior that helped lead to a diagnosis of a shared psychotic disorder, in which Weier came to share Geyser's delusion that Slender Man was real.

"I concluded that she could not conform her conduct to the requirements of the law," Westerdore said.

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On Tuesday, the first day of the trial, Weier's father said he was unaware of any delusions and never saw signs of mental illness.

>> Full Coverage: WISN.com/slender-man

Both Weier and Geyser were charged with being a party to attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Weier struck a deal with prosecutors in August in which she pleaded guilty to being a party to attempted second-degree intentional homicide, essentially acknowledging she committed all the elements of the offense. But she also pleaded not guilty due to mental illness of defect, setting up the trial on her mental status.

Judge Michael Bohren told jurors they must decide whether Weier had a mental illness at the time of the crime and if so, whether she lacked the capacity to understand her wrongful conduct.

Psychologists testified at a previous court hearing that Weier suffered from persistent depression and a delusional disorder linked to schizotypy, a diminished ability to separate reality from fantasy.

At least 10 of the 12 jurors must agree on a verdict.

Geyser has pleaded not guilty to being a party to first-degree attempted homicide. Her trial is set to begin Oct. 9.

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