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Judge halts previous order that girl, 12, be forced to undergo mental exam in stabbing case

A judge on Tuesday halted his previous order that one of two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls accused of stabbing a classmate to curry favor with a fictional character undergo an insanity exam.

The girl has already been examined by two doctors — one hired by the defense and the other appointed by the state — who agreed she wasn't mentally competent to assist in her own defense. According to the criminal complaint, the girl told police she stabbed the victim some 17 times. The victim survived.

During a hearing last week, prosecutor Susan Opper asked that the girl be given an additional mental examination to determine whether the girl had a mental disease or defect at the moment of the May 31 crime. Waukesha County Judge Michael Bohren granted Opper's request over the objections of defense attorney Anthony Cotton, who argued that such tests usually are conducted only after a defendant pleads insanity. The girl has yet to enter a plea.

Cotton followed up the next day with a motion arguing that if the girl were given an insanity evaluation, prosecutors would gain access to the information, violating the girl's right to remain silent.

Bohren acknowledged Cotton's motion Tuesday when he canceled his order for a mental exam "pending further order of the Court."

The girl and her alleged accomplice are charged with being party to attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Prosecutors say the two girls plotted for months to kill their 12-year-old friend to please the popular online specter known as Slender Man. They lured her to a park west of Milwaukee on May 31 and stabbed her 19 times in the arms, legs and torso, authorities said.

Cotton said he was pleased with the judge's decision Tuesday. He noted that it wouldn't be appropriate to have the girl examined while she's still considered mentally incompetent.

"Until she's restored to competency, she's not in a position where she should be asked any question about the alleged crime," Cotton told The Associated Press.

Opper did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Both defendants are due in court Aug. 1.

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Dinesh Ramde can be reached at dramde@ap.org.

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