WAUKESHA, Wisconsin — An attorney for one of two girls accused of trying to kill a classmate to please the fictional character Slender Man said Tuesday that her mental state has not improved and he will challenge a state doctor's determination that she is fit to stand trial.
Wisconsin Judge Michael Bohren ordered the girl to receive mental health treatment in August after a state psychologist testified the child claimed to see and hear things that others could not, including Slender Man, unicorns and characters from the Harry Potter and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. A different doctor filed the latest report on her condition, which was sealed by the court.
Defense attorney Anthony Cotton said the girl still believes fictional characters are real, and he would have a doctor he hired testify about that during a Dec. 18 hearing.
"We don't think anything has changed in terms of her functioning," Cotton said.
The case cannot proceed unless Bohren is confident the girl can understand and help with her defense.
Cotton said the treatment she has received at a mental health institution is "markedly better" than the care she had before August, when she was held in jail.
"Right now, she has one-on-one care, she has social workers, she has doctors, she has therapists," he said. "There's professionals who can look at her and monitor her and be involved in the sort of day-to-day treatment. Jails aren't equipped to do those types of activities, and they're certainly not equipped to do those things for children in most cases."
The girl would likely be sent back to jail if Bohren found her fit for trial, Cotton said.
According to court documents, the girl plotted with a friend for months before attacking a third child during a walk in a wooded park following a May 30 sleepover in Waukesha, about a half-hour west of Milwaukee. The victim, who was stabbed 19 times, survived by waiting until her attackers left and then crawling to a path where a bicyclist found her. All three children were 12 at the time.
The two girls charged in the case told investigators they hoped to curry favor with Slender Man. They were found walking toward a national forest where they believed the specter lived in a mansion.
The second girl charged in the attack also has a Dec. 18 hearing scheduled on her mental state. Wisconsin law requires suspects in severe crimes to be charged as adults if they are at least 10. The Associated Press is not naming the girls because both of their attorneys have said they will still seek to have the cases moved to juvenile court.