The second of the two teen girls, accused of the 2014 attempted homicide of their classmate, got 40 years supervision under a mental health institution. Morgan Geyser, a 15-year-old girl from Wisconsin, was charged with stabbing her friend in the woods to curry favor with Slender Man, a fictional online horror character.
On May 31, 2014, police had arrested Geyser and her friend Anissa Weier for attacking their classmate Payton Leutner with a knife. The accused had admitted to have assaulted Leutner to please Slender Man. All three girls were aged 12 at that time. The two girls stabbed Leutner 19 times before leaving her severely injured in the Waukesha woods. Leutner, however, managed to crawl to a nearby road where a passing bicyclist helped her get medical attention. Leutner, now 15, survived despite sustaining life-threatening injuries.
Judge Michael Bohren referred to his decision as “an issue of community protection” while granting the accused maximum penalty sought by the prosecutors. “What we can’t forget is this was an attempted murder,” Bohren said. The judge, before announcing the sentence, learned about Geyser’s mental health from doctors evaluating her condition. The doctors gave contradictory opinion on the severity of her persistent hallucinations and about the type of mental health institution she should be admitted to.
Geyser, as suggested by Dr. Brooke Lundbohm, had made significant progress over the last three years. However, the doctor was concerned that she could harm herself and others. On the other hand, Geyser’s attorneys demanded a less restrictive facility for her where she could stay with children of her age and could go on outings with supervision, provided she were well enough.
Before the ruling, Geyser burst into tears as she apologized to Bella, the nickname she had given to Leutner. “I just want to let Bella and her family know that I’m sorry,” she said. “And I hope she’s doing well.”
Geyser pleaded guilty in October 2017 to attempted first-degree intentional homicide. However, she was able to negotiate a plea deal with prosecutors, in which she was spared the prison term on the grounds of ill mental health. The court also allowed her to seek conditional release within 40 years.
Significantly, her friend Weier pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree intentional homicide in a hearing in August 2017. However, the jury agreed to the argument that she committed the crime under the effect of a mental illness. In December 2017, a court sentenced her to 25 years in a mental hospital.
Teen violence in US
The cases of teen violence are on the rise in the United States. In January 2018, a 15-year-old male student of Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, had gunned down two persons and injured 18 others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4,300 young Americans aged 10 to 24 (average 12 students per day) succumbed to homicide in 2014. In addition, 605 juveniles were arrested for murder, 21,993 for aggravated assault and 2,745 for rape in 2015. According to experts, the violent behavior in teens represents growing mental health problems in the country.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), nearly one in five adolescents experiences a diagnosable mental health disorder, while around one third of them exhibit depressive symptoms. Therefore, it is important to detect early signs of mental illnesses in teens to avoid possible complications. Warning signs like persistent irritability, social withdrawal, anger and major changes in appetite or sleep may indicate an underlying mental health problem. However, it is advisable to see an expert for right diagnosis.
Contact the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline for credible information on 24/7 mental health treatment facilities available across the country. Call at our helpline number (855) 653-8178 or chat online to know more about the best 24/7 mental health treatment center in your vicinity.