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Wisconsin woman in Slender Man stabbing will remain in psychiatric hospital after release petition denied

Slender Man sentencing
Morgan Geyser apologizes before sentencing in Slender Man case 00:53

The Wisconsin woman who at age 12 said she stabbed a sixth-grade classmate nearly to death to please the online horror character Slender Man will stay in a psychiatric hospital after a local judge denied her request for release with conditions.

In January, Morgan Geyser, now 21, requested early release from her 40-year commitment to the Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where she has been held since 2018.

Waukesha County Judge Michael Bohren on Thursday denied Geyer's petition, deciding that there was a significant risk that Geyser could harm herself or others.

"The scales tip in favor of the public, and it tips that way by clear and convincing evidence," Bohren said, citing the standard under Wisconsin law.

Girls Stabbing Plot
FILE- Morgan Geyser is escorted out of the courtroom following her sentencing on Feb. 1, 2018, in Waukesha, Wis.  Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP

His decision came after two days of testimony, including from two doctors who believe she is not a threat to the public and should be released from the psychiatric hospital.

"She has actively participated in therapy, medication management and all the treatments that are available," Dr. Kayla Pope, the hospital's medical director. "At this point she is safe to return to the community. I don't know that much more could be done to make her safer."

Geyser and Anissa Weier were 12 in 2014 when they lured Payton Leutner to a Waukesha park after a sleepover. Geyser stabbed Leutner repeatedly while Weier egged her on. Leutner suffered 19 stab wounds and barely survived, authorities said.

The girls quickly confessed, saying they carried out the attack to appease Slender Man, a fictional online horror character. They said they feared he would otherwise harm their families.

Geyser pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree intentional homicide and was sent to the psychiatric institute because of mental illness. She was initially diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorder but has been off antipsychotic medications since 2022 with no new symptoms, according to Dr. Ken Robbins, another psychiatrist who believes Geyser is ready to leave Winnebago and has known her since 2014.

He said it's important for Geyser to leave the hospital, though she still has anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Morgan has improved quite dramatically. ... The kinds of things Morgan needs in my view — help with socialization, help with education, help with becoming independent — are things Winnebago can no longer provide in an effective way," Robbins said.

Weier pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree intentional homicide and was also sent to the psychiatric center. She was granted a release in 2021 to live with her father and was ordered to wear a GPS monitor.

After the hearing, Geyser's attorney, Tony Cotton, said she has not changed her story, though she believes she stabbed the victim because of a trauma-related mental disorder, not schizophrenia. She can file another petition for release in six months.

"Time will show she is a healthy and stable person who needs to be released to the community. Time has shown that," Cotton told The Associated Press.

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