WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — A judge ruled Tuesday that two girls accused in the stabbing of a classmate to please the horror character Slender Man should be evaluated by the Waukesha County’s Department of Health and Human Services.
Attorneys for both girls had filed motions asking for the department to evaluate and determine services as if the girls were in juvenile court.
The 12-year-old girl and her 13-year-old friend, both of Waukesha, are charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the attack on Payton Leutner, who survived 19 stab wounds last May.
One of the girls’ attorneys, Joseph Smith Jr., told Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren that the department has agreed to prepare an assessment and report of available services, but couldn’t do so without a court order. Smith stressed that the agency’s staff has special training and experience working with children, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Assistant District Attorney Kevin Osborne argued that Bohren has no statutory authority to order the report unless and until the prosecution of the girls is transferred to juvenile court.
But Bohren agreed with Smith that his inherent authority as a judge allows him to order the reports, which he also agreed would likely provide crucial information before his decision on whether to keep the cases in adult court.
The girls have separate hearings this month and next month to determine if their cases should be moved to juvenile court.
Attorney Anthony Cotton said Tuesday he will determine if any additional motions need to be made after seeing the report. He had previously asked the judge to move his client to a psychiatric treatment center. But the judge denied the request.
Both girls have undergone evaluations of their legal competency, or their ability to understand the charges against them and assist in their own defense. One girl was found incompetent and spent four months in a state mental facility before being found to have been restored to competency.
Though the other girl was found competent after her first evaluation, some experts felt she was not and could benefit from specialized psychological treatment not available at the detention center where she has also been held on $500,000 bail.
Wisconsin law requires anyone accused of certain serious crimes to be charged as adults if they are 10 or older. The Associated Press isn’t naming the girls in case they end up in juvenile court, where proceedings are closed to the public.