WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — Two Wisconsin girls should be tried in adult court on accusations they lured a classmate into the woods and stabbed her repeatedly to please the horror character Slender Man, prosecutors say.
The Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office asked the court in a late Tuesday filing to find probable cause that both girls committed attempted first-degree homicide, reiterating arguments they made at a preliminary hearing earlier this month.
Under Wisconsin law, that charge automatically placed the case in adult court. A defense attorney filed a brief earlier Tuesday repeating a request that the judge move the case to juvenile court, and saying the girls should face attempted second-degree homicide charges, which normally would be a juvenile charge.
The suspects and the victim, who survived 19 stab wounds, were all 12 at the time of the attack in suburban Milwaukee on May 31.
Prosecutors said in their filings they presented “substantial evidence” at the preliminary hearing to support a finding of probable cause for the more serious charge. If the girls are ultimately convicted of a lesser charge, they wrote, Wisconsin law would allow the court to sentence the girls as juveniles.
Attorney Anthony Cotton, who represents one of the defendants, says his client is mentally disturbed and believed Slender Man would hurt her and her family if she didn’t kill someone for him. Attorneys for the second girl have painted her as a terrified tag-along who didn’t stab the victim.
If convicted in adult court, each girl could be sentenced to up to 65 years in state prison. Juvenile convictions could send them to a secure facility until age 25.
The judge has said he intends to rule March 13.
The Associated Press isn’t naming the defendants because their cases could end up in juvenile court, where proceedings are secret. The victim, Payton Leutner, who turned 13 last week, has recovered from the attack and returned to school.