Experts say Wisconsin woman who at 12 nearly killed girl isn't ready to leave psychiatric center

A judge in Wisconsin is hearing testimony to help determine whether a woman should be released from a psychiatric center, a decade after she nearly killed a girl at age 12

Ed White
Thursday 11 April 2024 00:50 BST

Two psychologists testified Wednesday that a Wisconsin woman who at age 12 stabbed a sixth-grade classmate nearly to death to please the online horror character Slender Man should not be released yet from a psychiatric hospital.

Morgan Geyser, now 21, wants to leave Winnebago Mental Health Institute with conditions. But one psychologist said the case has taken an unusual turn because Geyser claims she had been faking psychotic symptoms, which “doesn't line up” with years of observation and treatment.

“That would be rather remarkable. That would be very callous as well,” said Brooke Lundbohm, who has seen Geyser since 2014.

“If the person is not able to have insight into their mental health condition, the potential warning signs, the triggers that could cause decline, have insight into the kinds of treatment that may be beneficial — it raises a lot of concerns” about being discharged, Lundbohm testified.

Waukesha County Judge Michael Bohren is hearing from experts to determine whether to grant the release. The hearing will resume Thursday with cross-examination by Geyser's attorney.

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.

Geyser pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree intentional homicide and was sent to the psychiatric institute because of mental illness.

Another psychologist, Deborah Collins, said Geyser has made “bona fide progress” but agreed that she could pose a risk to the public. Collins said release could be appropriate in six to 12 months.

“She’s future-oriented. She’s goal-oriented as well,” Collins said.

Collins said she has seen Geyser approximately a dozen times since her arrest a decade ago. She was diagnosed at the time with schizophrenia spectrum disorder.

“Appraising her readiness for conditional release is a challenging call,” Collins said. “Miss Geyser is now approaching 22 years of age, and she’s spent virtually all of her adolescence and much of her adulthood in an institution. ... All we know is how Miss Geyser functioned prior to the age of 12 in the context of what appears to have been certainly a dysfunctional but also an abusive childhood.”

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.

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