WAUKESHA, Wis. — Prosecutors asked a judge Thursday to sentence a girl to 40 years in a mental hospital for stabbing a classmate in an attack she said was done to please the fictional horror character Slender Man.
Morgan Geyser, now 15, broke down in sobs during her plea hearing as a judge asked her to recount the 2014 stabbing of a classmate in a Milwaukee-area park. A co-defendant, Anissa Weier, also admitted a role in the attack.
An emotional Geyser referred to the victim by her nickname as she began to recount for the judge the crime for which she was pleading guilty.
“I hurt Bella,” Geyser said, stopping several times to compose herself during the hearing as she told the judge she stabbed her classmate with a knife she took from home.
“Anissa said that she couldn’t do it and then I had to,” Geyser said, her voice choking. When Judge Michael Bohren asked her where the girl was stabbed, Geyser said: “Everywhere.”
The victim, Payton Leutner, survived the attack by crawling out of woods, where she was found by a passing bicyclist. All three girls were 12 at the time.
Geyser will undergo a doctor’s evaluation by Nov. 13, and a hearing for sentencing was to be scheduled later. The defense made no request for length of sentence because the attorneys are waiting for the evaluation.
She agreed last week to plead guilty to attempted first-degree intentional homicide to avoid prison, continuing treatment in a mental hospital instead.
A jury last month determined Weier was mentally ill at the time of the attack. She faces at least three years in a mental hospital when she is sentenced later.
Prosecutors say Weier and Geyser lured Leutner into the woods at a park in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha and then attacked her. Geyser stabbed Leutner 19 times while Weier urged her on, according to investigators.
Leutner’s family issued a statement saying they were happy to avoid a trial.
“Though we do not believe that an institution is where these attempted murderers belong, the current legal system does not favor victims in this situation,” the statement said.
It added: “With this closure, our daughter is a heroic survivor — and no longer a victim.”
Geyser’s attorney, Anthony Cotton, said after the hearing his client is remorseful for hurting Leutner and wrote her “a very powerful” apology letter she hopes can be delivered to her one day.