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Doctors: 12-year-old stabbing suspect incompetent


By DINESH RAMDE

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) - Doctors have found that one of the two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls accused of stabbing a classmate to please a fictional online horror character is mentally incompetent to stand trial, attorneys said Wednesday.

Prosecutors immediately requested a hearing to discuss the doctors' conclusions, one from a psychologist hired by the defense and the other from a state-appointed doctor.

In a sign they might expect the girl to plead insanity, the prosecution additionally asked for an evaluation not only of the girl's present condition, but also of whether mental disease was present at the time of the crime.

Waukesha County Judge Michael Bohren granted both requests and set the hearings for Aug. 1.

The girl, who according to the criminal complaint told police she stabbed the victim about 17 times, appeared in court separately from her co-defendant. Each wore blue prison garb and shuffled along slowly, their heads bowed and their cuffed hands clasped in front of them.

Prosecutors say the girls plotted for months to kill their 12-year-old friend to curry favor with the popular online specter known as Slender Man. They lured her to a park west of Milwaukee on May 31 and stabbed her 19 times in the arms, legs and torso, authorities said.

Doctors told police the knife narrowly missed a major artery near the girl's heart. The child has since been released from a hospital and is recovering at home.

The two girls are charged in adult court with being party to attempted first-degree intentional homicide. The Associated Press is not naming them while there is a possibility their cases will be sent to juvenile court - the ultimate goal of both defense attorneys.

Wisconsin law says no defendant who is mentally incompetent to assist in his or her defense may be tried, convicted or sentenced. So that issue is a significant factor in whether court proceedings continue.

Typically when doctors for the state and the defense agree on a defendant's incompetence, the judge halts proceedings and the defendant is committed to a mental hospital until he or she regains competence, at which point the case resumes.

However, instead of accepting the reports' conclusions, deputy district attorney Susan Opper requested the hearing to discuss the findings further. It wasn't immediately clear what she planned to argue or challenge. She left the courtroom without talking to reporters and did not immediately reply to an email or voicemail.

Opper also requested an examination to determine whether the girl had a mental disease or defect at the actual moment the crime was committed. That step doesn't usually occur until a defendant enters an insanity plea, when a test is required to evaluate whether the plea is justified.

Defense attorney Anthony Cotton objected to the examination, noting that his client hadn't entered a plea yet. But Opper said she suspected the question of mental disease or defect would become relevant at some point, and she'd rather have the doctor's evaluation sooner rather than later.

Even if his client is found incompetent, Cotton wants court proceedings to continue. He said the law preventing a trial, conviction or sentencing wouldn't bar the continuation of motion hearings, a preliminary hearing or attempts to have his client's case moved to juvenile court.

"We didn't raise the incompetence for strategic reasons," Cotton said. "Our whole goal is to see she gets the help she needs."

Joseph Smith Jr., the defense attorney for the second girl, said he had reason to believe mental competency would also be an issue in his client's case, and he reserved the right to raise the issue down the line.

Smith had asked prosecutors to hand over their evidence, a process called discovery, earlier than is usual to help him prepare his defense. He said Wednesday that prosecutors had begun to share some evidence, and the judge granted his request for a follow-up hearing to make sure the process was completed.

Preteens Accused in 'Slenderman' Stabbing Due in Court

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kmcewan007 July 02 2014 at 4:23 PM

IF YOU PLAN SOMETHING FOR MONTHS THEN YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR DOING SHE IS NOT SNAP AT THE LAST MINUTE SHE SHOULD NOT GET OFF DUE TO THAT PLEA

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1 reply
boardsrbetter kmcewan007 July 02 2014 at 8:53 PM

The capitals were a bit much, but i agree wholly.

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rlmcanoe July 02 2014 at 4:03 PM

put them away, do not let them claim insanity so in a few years they are healed and can get out, that is crap

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3 replies
Lilli July 02 2014 at 4:55 PM

Wait, they are 12 years old, that in and of itself is confusing, but how can anyone be suffering from a mental disease when she and the other girl planned this attack for months? Seems to me anyone who plots an attack with another individual regardless the age in order to impress someone else doesn't really have a standing for not being able to assist their counsel at trial. I'm sorry, but if they can plan something this terrible for months on end just to impress someone, real or not, doesn't really scream mental defect or diseased to me, no matter the age.

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3 replies
pkkbh July 02 2014 at 4:49 PM

They are old enough to know right from wrong.

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3 replies
chrissf4529 July 02 2014 at 4:34 PM

I was afraid from the initial by line, that slenderman came forward and admitted he was the mastermind behind it. Frightening to see how much media influences our youth.

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1 reply
bookbuyer1 chrissf4529 July 02 2014 at 6:10 PM

"slenderman" is real (he lives in the whitehouse

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1 reply
Blackyori bookbuyer1 July 02 2014 at 9:11 PM

And the retards appear. You republicans make me want to cry in shame for you.

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bmitche July 02 2014 at 4:22 PM

Not too many people get stabbed about 17 times and live. She is lucky.

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2 replies
Gary H Mayer bmitche July 02 2014 at 7:20 PM

bmitche: There is no reason the victim had to be 'lucky.' She will endure many years of counseling and physical treatment. She may never be the same as before the crime, so do you really think she's 'lucky?'

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1 reply
hahudz Gary H Mayer July 02 2014 at 7:39 PM

poster meant she is lucky to have survived being stabbed that much; especially since medics say a major artery was missed by millimeters. Poster
wasn't referring to her psychological trauma.....how is it you can mis-interpret the comment?

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Relevant Data bmitche July 02 2014 at 8:36 PM

And using that logic, if she was stabbed only 10 times she would be extremely lucky. But if she was stabbed only 5 times she would be the most fortunate person that ever lived?

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Kate July 02 2014 at 4:32 PM

Oh sure, the defense had no ulterior motive in entering an incompetence motion, in a state where that would automatically forbid any further prosecution.

I don't blame the parents or the defense attorney for giving it a try, but saying that it's based on actual evidence of insanity is definitely hard to swallow. And I don't.

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1 reply
cchaplik Kate July 02 2014 at 6:22 PM

Keep reading. The article goes on to say that once they are considered competent, the case resumes.

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my_opinion_is July 02 2014 at 5:17 PM

She have been planning this for months!! Uhmm...HELLO??? Doesn't this alone states that she comprehended what she was about to do??

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3 replies
f1v79 July 02 2014 at 4:45 PM

If their heads were bowed, that means they know what they did was wrong. Sounds pretty competent to me. Eliminate them both and do the world a HUGE favor.

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2 replies
cjacsi f1v79 July 02 2014 at 6:13 PM

Ok let's add to this story that they were also engaged in sex at 12. Are they still competent?

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Wendy f1v79 July 02 2014 at 8:52 PM

Or as many kids do they don't want anyone to be mad at them. I doubt very much this was what you mean it to be. These are KIDS, not adults.

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gmgpjandon July 02 2014 at 4:37 PM

It's been my experience, most twelve year olds are incompetent. So what else is new?

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1 reply
hahudz gmgpjandon July 02 2014 at 7:41 PM

In that sense, a lot of 18 year olds, even though of 'legal' age are incompetent idiots.

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