WAUKESHA, Wisconsin — A judge halted court proceedings Monday for one of two 12-year-old girls accused of trying to kill a classmate to please a fictional character called Slender Man while the girl undergoes a competency evaluation.
The girl's attorney, Maura McMahon, told Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren during a brief hearing that a psychologist has questioned the girl's competency, raising concerns about whether she would be able to help with her defense. Bohren ordered a competency examination to be completed within 30 days.
The girl faces one count of first-degree attempted homicide in adult court. She would face up to 65 years if she's convicted. Her attorneys have said they plan to seek a transfer to juvenile court, where she couldn't be held past age 25.
The girl's preliminary hearing — in which a judge decides whether enough evidence exists for a case to continue to trial — was scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. McMahon asked Bohren to allow the hearing to continue, saying the girl would suffer harm if the case is delayed. After the hearing, McMahon told reporters that as the girl ages it becomes harder to convince a judge she belongs in juvenile court.
Assistant District Attorney Ted Szczupakiewicz objected, saying it makes no sense to continue proceedings only to find out down the road the girl was incompetent.
Bohren ultimately determined that continuing before competency is settled could violate the girl's due process rights. The girl is due back in court Oct. 22.
Bohren last month ordered the other girl to receive treatment based on doctors' testimony that she says she sees and speaks with things others can't, including unicorns and characters from the Harry Potter and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. If doctors aren't able to get her to a point where she can help with her defense within a year, then she could be held at a treatment center indefinitely.
According to court documents, the two girls attacked the 12-year-old victim in a wooded Waukesha park after a May 30 sleepover. Once the alleged attackers left, the victim crawled to a road where a passing bicyclist found her.
One of the alleged attackers told investigators they planned to kill their classmate to gain favor with Slender Man and then run away to his mansion in the Wisconsin woods.
The victim has recovered and returned to school, though doctors had told police the knife just missed a major artery near her heart.
The Associated Press isn't naming either of the alleged attackers because their cases could be moved to juvenile court.