WAUKESHA, Wis. In May of 2014, the country turned its attention to Waukesha, Wisconsin to what became known as the Slender Man stabbing. In 2017, two young girls, Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, received lengthy sentences in that case. Subsequently, the media seemed to lose interest in the story.
Weier and Geyser pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder of their friend, 12-year-old Payton Leutner. Law enforcement reported that Geyser stabbed Leutner 19 times. Both girls were 12 when they attempted to kill their victim.
Slender Man: The legend and the attack
Allegedly, Weir and Geyser committed the horrendous attack on Leutner – known to her friends as “Bella” – to satisfy the “Slender Man,” a fictional internet character originated by a Something Awful forum user named Eric Knudsen in 2009. One source describes the Slender Man as a “thin, unnaturally tall humanoid with a featureless head and face and wearing a black suit” commonly described as “stalking, abducting or traumatizing people, particularly children.”
Other sources, including the Waukesha Sentinal and New York magazine, state the two girls apparently claimed they wanted to commit the murder as part of a ritual allowing them to become “proxies” for Slender Man, after learning about him online. They also claimed they feared Slender Man would kill their families if they didn’t go through with the murder, according to a story published in Heavy.com.
Details of a horrific stabbing
“The suspects told cops they wanted to kill the victim as a sacrifice to Slender Man, whom they thought they’d meet after committing the slaying, enabling them to prove to skeptics that the mythical creature was real.
“Geyser and Weier thought that Slender lived in a mansion inside Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin, and the two planned to make the 318-mile walk to the forest after killing their friend.
“They explained to cops that killing another person would qualify them as “proxies” to Slender Man, putting them two steps below the character in Slender’s pecking order.
“According to the criminal complaint, Weier told cops that she and Geyser had been inspired by the Creepypasta website, where users exchange horror stories and stories about nightmares. That’s where the duo learned about Slender Man…”
Weier, Geyser tried separately as adults in sensational case
Tried separately as adults, both girls, whose mental states had been questioned, were ultimately convicted of the crime. Weier ended up with a 25-year sentence at the Winnebago Mental Health Institue. Under a separate plea deal, Morgan Geyser received a 40-year sentence at a the same facility. Only 15 at the time she received that unusually harsh sentence, authorities later moved her to a facility that could treat her apparent schizophrenia.
A Newser report by Arden Dier offered further details on the background of the crime.
“Morgan had told Anissa about hearing voices in her head and seeing a towering, faceless shadow lurking behind her. After both girls were arrested, doctors testified that Morgan had been having hallucinations since age 3, though her schizophrenia remained undiagnosed. A jury would later decide that Morgan’s illness made Anissa ‘insane by proxy…'”
Subsequently, this lurid story of attempted murder tied in with a viral internet meme. That meme, “Slender Man,” became the subject of an HBO documentary film entitled “Beware the Slenderman.” The film debuted on that cable network on January 23, 2017.
Morgan Geyser appeals her 40-year sentence
But now, Morgan Geyser is back in the news, attempting to appeal her sentence. Her legal team claims she should have been charged in youth court and not as an adult. They cited the immaturity of her belief in Slender Man’s ability to harm her family if she didn’t carry out his wishes. This clearly indicated a level of mental instability, they claimed.
In addition, Geyser’s defense claims she told police she didn’t understand her rights. The attorneys believe that Geyser would have been sentenced to only three years at the mental health facility. But only if the legal system handled the case competently from the start. The state has until February 4, 2019 to respond to the appeal.
Angie, Morgan Geyser’s mom, hoping for the best from the appeal
According to an article in Rolling Stone, Geyser’s mother, Angie, is hoping for the best as the decision date draws near.
“Everyone is so focused on ‘we have to pay, someone has to pay for what happened,’ Angie says quietly ‘And I’m not trying to diminish what happened to her friend, or the horror.’ But, as she waits for a judge to make a decision early next month, she maintains that her daughter was not capable of waiving her rights back in 2014.
“‘She can’t legally do anything: she can’t vote, she can’t join the military, she can’t consent to sex, she can’t do anything without her parents permission,’ Angie says. ‘So how is it OK for her to sign her rights away? They aren’t her rights – they are your parents[‘] to give away. It should have been our decision. She’s our child.'”
Still traumatized, Payton Leutner’s family speaks out
Payton Leutner’s family has spoken out about how the attack has literally and figuratively scarred their daughter for life. Mom Stacie Leutner sent a letter to the judge overseeing the case, saying that her daughter still struggles with the events of that day, which have irretrievably changed her life. She says Peyton now sleeps with scissors under her pillow and that she always locks her windows at night.
New Reelz documentary film on the attack set to debut
The news of Geyser’s appeal comes just prior the release of another film on the story, the new Reelz documentary “Slender Man Stabbing: The Untold Story.”
The Reelz web page for the documentary describes the film as follows.
“A two-hour exploration of this polarizing case, the documentary focuses on details from the day of arrest to the sentencing of Morgan Geyser. Going beyond the headlines to get perspectives from those closest to the plea deal that lead to her sentence, the evidence sited by both sides of this gripping ordeal will challenge what you know about this case… and what you think is just.”
This new documentary film is sure to bring fresh attention to the case and the events surrounding the vicious stabbing attack on Payton Leutner. Reelz is currently running the following trailer / preview of that film.
— Headline image: Morgan Geyser, pictured in Reelz promo for their new documentary on the Slender Man attack in Waukesha, WI. Fair use.