A Wisconsin teen who stabbed a classmate after becoming obsessed with the fictional online character Slender Man is set to walk free after spending three years in a state mental hospital.
On Thursday, a circuit judge ordered a conditional release plan for Anissa Weier, paving the way for her release from Winnebago Mental Health Institute.
“Court finds there is no clear and convincing evidence that the defendant poses a substantial risk of harm to others, herself, or serious property damage,” court filings, obtained by Oxygen.com, stated.
Judge Michael O. Bohren’s order requires the Department of Human Services to prepare a conditional release plan for Weier by Sept. 1. The plan will identify treatment and other services Weier may need upon her release, including supervision, medication, and support services.
A psychiatrist and social worker from Weier’s mental health facility were present for the Thursday hearing.
Weier and Geyser ultimately confessed they’d carried out the stabbing after becoming mesmerized with Slender Man, the ghoulish internet urban legend. The stabbing, they contended, was a “dedication” to the paranormal being.
“Weier stated that many people do not believe Slenderman is real and she stated she wanted to prove the skeptics wrong,” according to the case’s criminal complaint, obtained by Oxygen.com.
The two teens had originally planned to “duct tape” Leutner’s mouth, stab her in the neck, “put covers over her to make it look like she was sleeping and run.” Weier told Geyser, who was armed with the knife, to “go ballistic, go crazy” prior to plunging a blade into the 12-year-old several times.
Weier and Geyser were tried as adults in the case. Weier pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in a state mental hospital. Geyser, meanwhile, received a 40-year term in a psychiatric facility.
In November 2020, Weier filed her petition for her conditional release. In a letter addressing the court, Weier expressed remorse for carrying out the 2014 stabbing.
“I am sorry and deeply regretful for the agony, pain, and fear I have caused not only to Payton and her family, but my community as well,” Weier wrote in a court letter earlier this year, which Oxygen.com obtained. “I take full responsibility for my actions...and I show that responsibility by making sure I never get that ill again.”
The 19-year-old added she “hated” her actions but had “forgiven herself.”
“I have learned that forgiveness is a process of healing that helps release the pain of the past,” Weier wrote. “I no longer want to be a source of pain in my community, and that is why I ask for forgiveness.”
Weier insisted she had “exhausted” all the available mental health resources at Winnebago Mental Health Institute.
“I want to reiterate that I am not saying I am done growing, changing, evolving, or adapting. I just can’t do it here anymore.”
She also promised to be a “productive member of society” if released, indicating she desired to pursue higher education.
Weier was remanded into custody of the mental health facility until her next court date. A review hearing is scheduled for Sept. 10, according to court filings. At the hearing, the judge is expected to either approve Weier’s conditional release plan or request its revision.
Weier public defenders, Joseph Smith Jr. and Maura McMahon, weren’t immediately available for comment on Friday.