WAUKESHA, Wis. - A court commissioner has ordered a competency evaluation for one of two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls accused of stabbing a classmate 19 times in a quest to please a spooky fictional character they read about on a horror website.
Attorney Anthony Cotton requested the competency hearing for his client during a court hearing Wednesday. Cotton says he can't give details about why he questions the girl's competency but he says he has an obligation to raise the issue if he sees signs that spur a question. Cotton has previously said that he believed his client showed signs of mental illness.
A state-appointed doctor will evaluate his client. The doctor's report will be kept secret.
The other girl's attorney says he is not raising competency as an issue right now but could later. Attorney Joseph Smith Jr. says now he is seeking information from prosecutors to help prepare for a preliminary hearing.
Both of the girls appeared in court Wednesday wearing shackles around their feet and waist. Their families were also present for the hearing and one of the girl's father cried.
On Tuesday, a judge ordered that news media not show the girls' faces when they appear. News media groups filed a motion seeking a reconsideration of the order, but it was denied, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
The girls are each charged as adults with first-degree attempted homicide but there is a possibility their cases will be sent to juvenile court.
According to court documents, the girls, both from Waukesha, a Milwaukee suburb, plotted for months to kill their friend to curry favor with Slenderman, a fictional character they read about on a site called creepy pasta, which features short horror stories designed to "unnerve and shock the reader." They told investigators they believed Slenderman had a mansion in a Wisconsin forest and they planned to go live with him after the slaying, the documents allege.
One of the girls hosted the other two at a May 30 slumber party to celebrate her birthday and the next morning, the two girls attacked the victim in a wooded Waukesha park, according to the documents. One of the girls allegedly told investigators that she told the victim to lie down and be quiet after the stabbing so that she would lose blood slower. The girl said she hoped to convince the victim to be quiet so the victim would not draw attention to them and would die, documents say.
Once the attackers left, the 12-year-old victim crawled from the woods to a road where a passing bicyclist found her, authorities say. Doctors later told police the girl had narrowly escaped death because the knife missed a major artery near her heart by just one millimeter. The child was released from a hospital last week and is recovering at home. Police have not identified her, and her parents asked friends to keep her name secret.
The 12-year-old suspects are due back in court July 2. They are currently being held at a juvenile detention center on $500,000 cash bond each. They face up to 65 years in prison if convicted.
Wisconsin law requires prosecutors to charge children 10 and older as adults in severe cases. Defense attorney Anthony Cotton has said he will try to get his client's case moved to juvenile court, where more support and mental health services are available.
The odds are against him, however. A 2013 review of the court system found that of approximately 240 people under 17 charged as adults in 2012, only seven had their cases moved to juvenile court, Wisconsin Supreme Court spokesman Tom Sheehan said. The court system does not track such cases statewide on an annual basis.