Teen 'Slender Man' Stabbing Suspect Sentenced to 40 Years in a Psychiatric Hospital

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Morgan Geyser, one of the two teens accused of stabbing classmate Payton Leutner at the behest of “Slender Man,” a fictional phenomenon created by the internet, has been sentenced to 40 years in a mental institution in lieu of jail time.

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Geyser’s sentence came after a day of expert testimony about the teen’s psychological progress. The Chicago Tribune reports that attorneys argued that her schizophrenia and psychotic spectrum disorder made her susceptible to delusions and paranoia. But the three doctors that argued in her defense said that she was no longer exhibiting psychotic symptoms and would fare best in a mental facility that allows for her to socialize with other teenagers. Until now, Geyser has been in a mental institution comprised mostly of adults and is the youngest person there.

Part of Geyser’s plea agreement, which she accepted in October, was that a judge found her not guilty by reason of a mental disease or defect. This means that the harshest sentence she could’ve received was the one she got and she successfully avoided any criminal charges. Geyser and a friend, Anissa Weir, were 12 years old when they lured their classmate into a park in Waukesha, Wisconsin, stabbing her 19 times in an attempt to appease the “Slender Man,” a faceless internet monster often referenced on websites/horror forums such as Creepypasta.

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Prior to sentencing, Geyser addressed the court. “I just want to let Bella and her family know that I’m sorry,” she said, using a nickname for the victim, Leutner. “And I hope she’s doing well.”

Managing Editor, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

princessmonstertruck
PrincessMonsterTruck

I did some research on the juvenile justice system in Germany (in comparison to the U.S.) in law school last semester. Juveniles (up to age 21) are never tried as adults in Germany. Most serve less than 10 years. I believe the maximum is 10 maybe 15.

The underlying theory of creating the U.S. juvenile court system in the first place was based on the belief that children should not be treated the same as adults and that they were capable of rehabilitation. Particularly in the 1990s there was a wave of media coverage saying that “juvenile crime was exploding” (false) and politicians saying that they were going to be “tough on crime” to win elections. The result of this is more children being tried as adults because of political pressure not to be “soft” (also juvenile proceedings are usually closed to the public - no salacious media coverage).

This girl was 12. Her brain wasn’t fully developed. She had undiagnosed schizophrenia at the time. She’s still guilty - but she should have been tried in juvenile court. 40 years is excessive (for attempted murder?). With treatment, she could be released and live a productive life.