‘Slender Man’ follower released after near-fatal stabbing of classmate to please internet horror character

Authorities to monitor online activity of woman after 12-year-old friend was stabbed in attempt to prove meme was real

Justin Vallejo
New York
Saturday 11 September 2021 00:16 BST
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Anissa Weier will be released from a mental hospital 7 years after luring a 12-year-old friend into the woods for a tribute killing to the internet meme character Slender Man.

Now 19-years-old, Ms Weier was granted conditional release starting on Monday, with the Department of Corrections to monitor her internet activity.

Waukesha County Judge Michael Bohren said conditions for her release, including around-the-clock GPS monitoring and psychiatric treatment, would protect Payton Leutner, who survived the 2014 attack.

Ms Weier was sentenced to 25 years in the Winnebago Mental Health Institute after a jury found she was not criminally responsible for her part in the stabbing, which gained international notoriety and inspired the 2016 HBO documentary Beware the Slenderman.

Sony Pictures followed suit with a 2018 movie titled Slenderman that starred the horror character. While not based on the real-life case, Ms Weier’s father, Bill Weier, said it was “absurd” and “extremely distasteful” to popularise a tragedy.

After luring her Ms Leutner into a Waukesha park after a birthday sleepover in 2014, Ms Weier cheered on as friend Morgan Geyser stabbed their classmate 19 times.

All three sixth-graders were 12-years-old.

Both Ms Weier and Ms Geyser pleaded guilty, telling detectives that they would become Slender Man’s servants if they killed their friend. They feared the Slender Man would harm them or their families if they didn’t kill someone.

The character emerged from horror stories that spread virally across the internet, with the tall thin man often pictured with a blank face and wearing a black suit.

Fictional online character created in summer of 2009
Fictional online character created in summer of 2009

“Many people do not believe Slender Man is real,” one of the then 12-year-old girls told authorities, according to the criminal complaint. “[We] wanted to prove the sceptics wrong.”

Ms Geyser is serving a maximum 40-year sentence at a mental health facility.

Ms Weier petitioned to be released in November, with a letter she wrote was presented to her release hearing in March.

She had vowed to the court that she’d never allow herself to “become a weapon again” and said she needed to rejoin society to continue treatment.

Ms Weier was dressed in a dark suit and said nothing during her 20-minute court hearing on Friday, according to the Associated Press.

The family of Ms Lautner also declined to speak during the hearing, the outlet reported.

Ms Weier’s release was scheduled for Monday after her lawyer, Maura McMahon, said it was easier for the mental health facility to process her release after the weekend.

“She looks forward to moving on into a productive life,” Ms McMahon told the judge.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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