WAUKESHA -- 15-year-old Anissa Weier pleaded guilty on Monday, August 21st to an amended charge of attempted second degree intentional homicide, party to a crime with use of a deadly weapon in the so-called Slenderman case.
Anissa Weier is charged along with Morgan Geyser in the attempted murder of their then-sixth grade classmate in the spring of 2014. Investigators say the attack was an attempted sacrifice to the online character Slenderman.
Weier testified during a hearing on Monday.
"I believed that if I didn't go through with it, Slenderman would come and attack and kill myself, my friends, and my family," Weier told the judge.
The court accepted Weier's guilty plea -- and she was indeed found guilty of the amended charge.
A jury will now have to decide whether Weier is guilty, in which case the state recommends ten years in prison -- or if she's not by reason of mental disease or defect. In that case, Weier would be committed until at least July 2020.
"The question is, do you want someone coming back having received treatment, having had to show to a court they are no longer dangerous, or sitting in our prison system and released," said Maura Ann McMahon, Weier's attorney.
Weier initially faced a charge of attempted first-degree intentional homicide. The plea means her trial next month will look only at whether she is legally responsible for the crime or not guilty because of mental illness. That trial is set to begin in three weeks.
Hours after Weier's plea, Geyser also was in court Monday for a status hearing that focused on scheduling issues before her Oct. 16 trial. She has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease to attempted homicide charges in adult court. Weier initially entered the same plea.
There was no plea in Monday's hearing, but her lawyer said he is hoping to work with prosecutors on a deal that avoids a trial altogether.
"It's stressful for Morgan, who needs care on a regular basis. It's stressful on the victim's family for them to wonder about the uncertainty of where this thing is going. So, yeah, I see it as different process on our end," said Anthony Cotton, Geyser's lawyer.
Weier's attorney said Monday's plea by Anissa allows a jury to get straight to the heart of this case.
"We get to focus on her mental state at the time of this offense and that`s really, I think, everyone realizes that's always been the question here," McMahon said.
Slenderman started with an online post in 2009, as a mysterious specter photo-shopped into everyday images of children at play. He is typically depicted as a spidery figure in a black suit with a featureless white face. He was regarded by his devotees as alternately a sinister force and an avenging angel.
The Wisconsin case is the subject of the HBO documentary, "Beware the Slenderman." The film examines how children can become easily drawn into beliefs spread through the Internet.