WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — Doctors believe that one of the two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls accused of stabbing a classmate to please a fictional character is not mentally competent to stand trial, attorneys said Wednesday.
The prosecution immediately requested a hearing to discuss the conclusions, which assess whether the girl is capable of assisting in her own defense. One of the psychologists was hired by the defense and the other is a state-appointed doctor.
Prosecutors also asked that the girl be given a separate evaluation to determine whether she had mental disease at the moment the crime was committed. The move suggests they're preparing for a possible insanity plea.
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 some 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 victim'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 chance their cases will be sent to juvenile court — the ultimate goal of both defense attorneys.
Wisconsin law says no defendant who is mentally incompetent 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. If the defendant regains competence, the case resumes.
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