Jury to mull defendant's mental health in Slender Man attack

Posted at 6:46 AM, Sep 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-11 14:56:41-04

WAUKESHA -- Jury selection began Monday morning in the trial of Anissa Weier, one of two suspects in the May 2014 stabbing case often referred to as the "Slender Man stabbing."  

Hundreds of potential jurors are expected to be brought in and questioned as attorneys worked to assemble a jury pool free of bias. 

They were identified solely by numbers, not their names. 

"In a typical jury, we use your names and surnames," said Judge Michael Bohren. "But in this type of case, I decided that it's best to use what's called an anonymous jury. That's why we're referring to you with numbers." 

Bohren instructed all potential jurors to not discuss the case with anyone or view any media coverage about it. 

According to prosecutors, Weier and her friend Morgan Geyser stabbed a classmate 19 times and left her in a Waukesha park. The girls told investigators they were trying to please the fictional horror character Slender Man. 

Weier and Geyser were charged with attempted first degree intentional homicide. 

Last month, Weier pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and the state recommended a 10-year prison sentence, although Bohren can sentence her to up to 25 years. 

But while the jury in Weier's trial won't have to reach a verdict on whether she participated in the stabbing, jurors will be tasked with coming to a decision on her mental competency. 

Jurors in Weier's trial will have to decide if she is mentally ill, and therefore not legally responsible for her actions the day of the stabbing. Her attorney is expected to argue that Weier believed Slender Man would harm her and her family if she did not participate in the stabbing. 

The burden of proof rests with Weier's attorney to prove that her client is mentally ill. 

The judge has blocked off up to two weeks for the trial proceedings. 

The jury will be sequestered for the duration of the case.