WAUKESHA, Wis. – Two Wisconsin girls accused of stabbing a classmate to please the fantasy character Slender Man are fit to stand trial, a judge ruled Thursday.
State experts concluded that both girls were competent, but their attorneys contested those conclusions. Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren held back-to-back hearings for both girls Thursday to decide.
Bohren's decisions mean both cases will continue to preliminary hearings, where a judge will decide whether there's enough evidence for trial.
Prosecutors have charged both girls with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the attack in May in Waukesha, a city of 71,000 about 15 miles west of Milwaukee. They say the girls plotted for months to kill classmate Payton Leutner, luring her to a wooded park after a sleepover and stabbing her 19 times. After her attackers left, Leutner crawled through the woods to a sidewalk where a bicyclist found her and called 911.
The two girls charged in the case were found walking toward a national forest where they said they believed Slender Man lived in a mansion. They told investigators they believed killing Leutner would curry favor with the figure.
All three girls were 12 at the time of the incident. The first girl that Bohren found competent Thursday has since turned 13.
Wisconsin law requires suspects who are at least 10 years old to be charged as adults in severe crimes. The Associated Press isn't naming either defendant because their attorneys have said they may still try to move their cases into juvenile court, where proceedings are secret.