Morgan Geyser Makes Tearful Apology; Is Given Max Sentence In Slender Man Stabbing

Morgan Geyser, 15, appears for sentencing before Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 in Waukesha, Wis. Geyser is one of two girls who tried to kill a classmate with a knife to appease fictional horror character Slender Man. Prosecutors want Geyser to spend the maximum 40 years in a mental hospital for stabbing Payton Leutner in suburban Milwaukee in 2014. (Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, Pool)

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS News) — A Wisconsin girl inspired by fictional horror character Slender Man to try to kill a classmate made a tearful apology before she was sentenced Thursday to spend 40 years in a mental institution, the maximum sentence.

Doctors who evaluated 15-year-old Morgan Geyser provided conflicting opinions at a sentencing hearing about the type of institutional care she needs and the severity of her continued hallucinations. Prosecutors wanted Geyser to spend the maximum 40 years in a mental hospital for stabbing Payton Leutner in suburban Milwaukee in 2014.

“I just want to let [Payton] and her family know I’m sorry,” Geyser said, sobbing. “I never meant this to happen. And I hope that she’s doing well.”

To make their case during Geyser’s sentencing hearing in Waukesha County Circuit Court, they presented testimony from a doctor who said Geyser reported still hearing voices from someone named “Maggie” as recently as September.

Dr. Brooke Lundbohm acknowledged that Geyser has made significant progress over the last three years, but said she emphatically believes she is still a danger to herself and others.

“This is not a close call,” she said.

Girls Stabbing Plot

Geyser’s attorneys advocated for her to be moved to a less restrictive facility with children her age and the possibility of being able to be on outings with supervision if she’s well enough.

Two doctors called by the defense said Geyser no longer exhibits psychotic symptoms.

“I believe at the present time she is no more dangerous than any adolescent her age,” said Dr. Kenneth Robbins.

The hearing lasted most of the afternoon and included victim impact statements. slenderman-verdict-vo-8a-0916t051401-mov-1.jpg

Geyser pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree intentional homicide in October in a deal with prosecutors to avoid prison.

Geyser and co-defendant Anissa Weier lured Leutner into the woods in a park and repeatedly stabbed her with a kitchen knife. Geyser stabbed Leutner 19 times while Weier urged her on, according to investigators. Leutner was left for dead but she crawled out of the woods and got help from a passing bicyclist. She and her attackers were all 12 at the time.

Weier was sentenced to 25 years in a mental hospital in December. She had pleaded guilty in August to being a party to attempted second-degree intentional homicide, but she claimed she wasn’t responsible for her actions because she was mentally ill. In September, a jury agreed.

Anissa Weier, Morgan Geyser

Anissa Weier (L) and Morgan Geyser (R), WDJT-TV

Geyser’s attorneys have argued in court documents that she suffers from schizophrenia and psychotic spectrum disorder, making her prone to delusions and paranoid beliefs.

A psychiatrist hired by her attorneys previously testified that Geyser believed she could communicate telepathically with Slender Man and could see and hear other fictional characters, including unicorns and characters from the Harry Potter and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. She also believed she had “Vulcan mind control.”

Slender Man started with an online post in 2009, as a mysterious specter whose image people edit into everyday scenes of children at play. He is typically depicted as a spidery figure in a black suit with a featureless white face.