Judge denies release from psychiatric institute for woman involved in 'Slender Man' attack

A Wisconsin judge has refused to release from a mental institution a woman who is serving a sentence for brutally stabbing a peer as a child to earn the favor of the fictional horror character Slender Man in a case that shocked the nation a decade ago.

Morgan Geyser, now 21, in January had requested to be released from the Winnebago Mental Health Institute, and proceedings started Wednesday and continued Thursday.

Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren on Thursday determined Geyser posed a risk of harming herself or others, or of damaging property, and denied her release.

Geyser was sentenced to 40 years in a mental hospital in 2018 after pleading guilty to attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the brutal stabbing of her then-sixth-grade classmate Payton Leutner.

In the May 31, 2014, attack, Geyser, along with peer Anissa Weier, lured Leutner, when they were all 12 years old, to a park in Waukesha after a sleepover, and Geyser repeatedly stabbed Leutner as Weier egged her on, prosecutors previously said.

Leutner was stabbed 19 times and barely survived, officials said.

They told investigators they did it to earn the favor of the fictional horror character Slender Man, and to become his servants and protect their families from him, The Associated Press reported.

Geyser had requested to be released in January, marking the second time she put in such a request. In 2022, she had also tried for conditional release, but withdrew the petition two months after filing it.

In Wednesday’s proceedings, two psychologists testified. One said Geyser claimed she had been faking psychotic symptoms, which “doesn’t line up” with years of observation and treatment, The Associated Press reported.

Dr. Kenneth Robbins, another doctor who prepared a conditional release report for Geyser, said in court Thursday he believed it was “an appropriate time” for her to be conditionally released to a group home.

“Morgan has improved quite dramatically and needs things that the institution can no longer offer,” he said. “No suggestion that she’s dangerous at this time and the kinds of things that Morgan needs, in my view, help with socialization, help with education, help with becoming independent, are things that Winnebago can no longer provide in an effective way.”

Weier also pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree intentional homicide and was sentenced to 25 years in a mental institution. Weier was released under strict conditions in September 2021 after almost four years. At the time, Judge Bohren ruled that she no longer posed a threat.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com