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Anissa Weier: Jury in deliberations in Slender Man stabbing trial

Posted at 7:03 PM, Sep 14, 2017

UPDATE 7:52 p.m. Friday:

The jury has reached a verdict. We expect to hear from the jury momentarily. 

UPDATE 7:00 p.m. Friday: 
The court has ordered dinner for the jury and court officials have been told they should expect to be in court through 9:00 p.m. as the jury continues to deliberate. 

UPDATE 4:00 p.m. Friday: 

The jury has been deliberating Anissa Weier's case for hours now, and asked to rewatch a portion of the more than three-hour long interview with police.

At least one juror was physically upset during the viewing, and Weier's attorneys said the jury should not be forced to finish the interview, and they have returned to deliberate. 

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ORIGINAL STORY: 

The first Slender Man case was expected to be a lengthy one. However, after just three days of testimony, each side is preparing its closing arguments. 

Thursday, Anissa Weier's team called three more witnesses to testify, including two more doctors who diagnosed Weier with delusions. 

Dr. Gregory Van Rybroek says at the time of the stabbing, Weier suffered from a delusional order. 
"I thought she had a fixed and false belief she shared with her friend Morgan [Geyser]," Van Rybroek said. "We call that a shared delusion and at the moment of this event, she was confused and convinced."

Van Rybroek says Geyser's schizophrenia had an impact on Weier. However, he says it didn't happen instantly.

"It wasn't immediate," Van Rybroek said. "It was gradual. More like a glacier. It was something that gradually got into her head and her friend's. They got confused about what was going on there and morphed into the world of mental health for that important moment here."

Having delusions are what the doctor say lead Weier to do what she did. While she didn't have a problem deciphering the difference between right and wrong, the delusions are what motivated her to participate in the stabbing.

"I think at the time she knew it was wrong," Van Rybroek said. "She knew the difference between right and wrong but even so, she could not stop herself at the moment that mattered most because she was convinced this character was not a fantasy but was real in her mind."

Van Rybroek came to his diagnosis in an interesting way. He tried to get in the mindset of a 12-year-old. He even tried to absorb the Creepy Pasta website, where the Slender Man stories were  written, through the eyes of a child. He was caught off guard at the realistic nature of the site, even based off of a disclaimer he read.

"There was a line between fiction and reality and it is up to you to realize where the line is," Van Rybroek said. "We're a literature site, not a satanic cult. That's interesting for me to read now, in retrospect after all this. I said [in my report], it's difficult with the mental capacity of a 12-year-old to know the line and realize the line between fiction and reality."

After the afternoon recess, another doctor took the stand with a similar diagnosis.

"People with a delusional disorder have a comelling need to save the world or save their family and can't let that go," Dr. Michael Caldwell said.

Caldwell is the only doctor hired by the defense team for the case. However, he came to the same conclusion as the other two appointed by the court. 

"Her ability to comprehend wrongfulness was compromised by delusional disorder," Caldwell said. "You may feel you have no choice because there is a moral requirement for you to act and a way you understand."

The prosecution did not call any witnesses.

After testimony was done, both the state and defense asked for a direct verdict in the case; essentially asking the judge to rule instead of the jury because of the evidence in the case. 

"Two of the experts were court appointed," Joseph Smith, Weier's defense attorney said. "There was unanimity of them believing she suffered from delusional disorder at the time of this act. She was under the command and control of that disorder. Based on evidence, no reasonable jury could decide we haven't shown reasonable certainty that Anissa did not suffer from mental disease or disorder. We presented evidence from three, well respected psychologists. We all agree at this."

However, the state argued the doctors diagnoses were invalid based on their theory of when Anissa Weier said she was afraid of Slender Man.

"All three have clearly directed an opinion that is formed on basis of incorrect information," Assistant District Attorney Kevin Osborn said. "All three are opining what they're opining because Anissa believed Slender Man was a threat to her and her family even though Anissa says, it's a silly thing. I didn't even know I was in danger until Morgan told me afterwards. It's in her own words. She didn't know about the Slender Man threat until after it was over. All three doctors opinions relied on that. Their opinions are so suspect since they're reliant on that belief that didn't exist at the time. Their opinions have no validity. The defense has not met their burden."

The Honorable Michael Bohren denied both motions so the jury will decide on the case. One important note from Bohren is in the notes of the jury instructions he'll read tomorrow. He says the instructions say the jurors are not bound by any expert opinion.

Closing arguments begin at 8:30 a.m.