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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Twelve-Year-Old Girls, Inspired by Horror Website, Stab Classmate

     On Saturday morning, May 31, 2014, a bicyclist in Waukesha, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee, came upon a 12-year-old girl lying on the sidewalk. She was bleeding from wounds on her arms, legs, and torso. "Please help me," she begged. "I've been stabbed."

     The bicyclist called 911, and the girl was rushed to Waukesha Memorial Hospital where she was listed in stable condition. A team of surgeons performed laparoscopic surgery on injuries to the victim's liver, pancreas, and stomach. According to doctors, the victim had been stabbed nineteen times with a large knife.

     To detectives who questioned the victim at the hospital, she identified her attackers as two middle school classmates, Morgan Geysey and Anissa Weier.

     Two hours after the bicyclist came upon the stabbed girl on the sidewalk, police officers found Morgan and Anissa walking near Interstate 94. The twelve-year-olds were still wearing their blood-stained clothing. In a purse in one of  the girl's possession, officers recovered a large, bloody kitchen knife.

     Interviewed at the Waukesha Police Department, the girls confessed to stabbing their classmate in the wooded section of a park following a sleep-over at one of the suspect's house. One of the girls held the victim down while her accomplice wielded the knife. They traded jobs by handing the knife back and forth between them. In response to the obvious question of why they had stabbed and almost killed one of their classmates, one of the girls mentioned a website they visited regularly called Creepypasta Wiki.

     The Internet site in question posted horror stories, gory videos, and violent images that featured a fictitious character named Slenderman. A faceless man who wears a dark suit and a full-brim business hat, Slenderman haunts children and those who seek to unmask him. For a website devotee to "climb up to Slenderman's realm," the viewer had to kill someone. This website had been the inspiration for the knife attack on the hapless classmate.

     According to Geysey and Weier, the stabbing was not a spontaneous assault. The girls had been planning to murder this classmate since February 2014. Initially, they intended to kill the girl by placing duct tape over her mouth, then stabbing her in the neck while she slept.

     Murder plan B consisted of stabbing the intended victim in a shower stall or bathtub where the victim's blood would flow down a drain. The plan they actually executed involved stabbing the victim in the park during a game of hide-and-seek--child's play with a macabre twist.

     On Monday, June 2, 2014, the arraignment judge informed the twelve-year-old suspects they had been charged, as adults, with attempted first-degree murder. The judge set each suspect's bond at $500,000. Police officers booked Geysey and Weier into the Waukesha County Jail. (If one of these girls was the leader, and the other a follower, that information has not been published.) Both girls have said they regret stabbing their classmate. They say they are sorry for almost killing her.

     No doubt defense attorneys representing these girls will cite their tender ages in challenging the appropriateness of trying them in the adult court system. The prosecutor will probably counter this argument by highlighting the premeditated, cold-blooded nature of the brutal, ritualistic attack.

     Across the country, as pre-teens and slightly older children continue to commit carefully planned crimes of violence, the criminal justice trend has been to treat them as adults rather than juvenile delinquents. Kids convicted of first-degree murder have been sentenced to life without parole. This has become a hotly debated issue among criminologists, corrections officials, prosecutors, and police administrators. I doubt these girls will be tried as adults. They will probably plead guilty and be sent to a juvenile facility until they turn twenty-one.


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