A 19-year-old woman who participated in the nearly fatal stabbing of a friend, a crime she said was carried out to gain the favor of a sinister fictional character called Slender Man, will be released from a psychiatric hospital on Monday, a Wisconsin judge ruled on Friday.
The 2014 attack, in which two 12-year-old girls from Waukesha, Wis., lured a classmate to a park and stabbed her 19 times, shocked parents in the upper-middle-class suburb of Milwaukee.
In 2017, the woman, Anissa Weier, pleaded guilty to being a party to attempted second-degree intentional homicide, and she was sentenced to 25 years in the Winnebago Mental Health Institute. In March of this year, she asked the court to release her from the institution.
“I have exhausted all the resources available to me at the Winnebago Mental Health Institute,” Ms. Weier wrote in a letter requesting her release. “If I am to become a productive member of society, I need to be a part of society.” Ms. Weier’s lawyer did not immediately respond to request for comment on Saturday.
Judge Michael O. Bohren of Waukesha County Circuit Court had ordered Ms. Weier’s release in July, but asked that she stay in the Winnebago Mental Health Institute until the conditions of her release were approved. The full report on those conditions, which were defined on Friday, has not been released to the public.
During the hearing in July, Judge Bohren acknowledged the gravity of the crime that Ms. Weier and Morgan Geyser committed in 2014, when they and the victim were all sixth graders at Horning Middle School in Waukesha.
It “may still make people tremble because it was such a terrible thing to happen,” the judge said, “not only just the physical assault but that it happened among friends who were kids.”
On May 31, 2014, Ms. Geyser and Ms. Weier lured 12-year-old Payton Leutner into the woods, where Ms. Geyser stabbed the girl 19 times with a kitchen knife as Ms. Weier urged her on.
“Anissa told her to lie down so she wouldn’t lose blood so quickly, and told her to be quiet,” Ms. Geyser had previously testified. “And we left.”
Ms. Weier and Ms. Geyser said they attempted the murder because they wanted to please Slender Man, a fictional character generally depicted as a tall, shadowy figure with a blank face. They said they believed that Slender Man was real and lived in a mansion in the woods in northern Wisconsin. They said that by killing Ms. Leutner, they would become his “proxies.”
In 2018, Ms. Geyser was sentenced to 40 years in a psychiatric hospital.
Ms. Leutner managed to survive by crawling out of the woods. It took months for her to recover from her injuries. Doctors said one of the stab wounds came within a millimeter of hitting a major artery, which would have killed her.
The origins of Slender Man, considered one of the internet’s best-known urban legends, can be traced to 2009, when images were posted on an online forum devoted to fake paranormal pictures. Images of the character circulated online and the legend grew. Some depicted Slender Man with tentacles. Others showed him with powers of mind control.
In the hearing in July, Judge Bohren said Ms. Weier “had a clean mental health history, if you will.” Ms. Weier told the court that she planned to live with her father upon her release, and would look for part-time work and pursue college.
“I am going to be a productive member of society, make my own way and get some form of a higher education,” Ms. Weier wrote in the March letter. “I want to reiterate that I am not saying I am done growing, changing, evolving or adapting. I just can’t do it here anymore.”