A court commissioner has ordered a competency evaluation for one of the two Waukesha girls accused in the stabbing of a classmate.
The suspects appeared in separate hearings Wednesday afternoon in a Waukesha courtroom.
Media from as far away as New York were at the Waukesha County Courthouse for a status update hearing for two 12-year-old girls. They’re charged as adults in the stabbing of a 12-year-old classmate.
Authorities say the girls’ 12-year-old friend was stabbed 19 times in an attack last month, which nearly killed her. The criminal complaint says the suspects allegedly left the victim in the woods, to die. It also says the suspects plotted to kill their friend for months, in hopes that doing so would please a fictional, online character. The complaint says the girls believed Slender Man was real. The suspects allegedly planned to walk to a forest in northern Wisconsin, where they believed Slender Man lives, after the attack.
Attorney Anthony Cotton represents one of the suspects. He asked that his client receive an exam to determine whether she understands the charges brought against her. The girl will be evaluated by a doctor appointed by the state. The result could determine the next move.
“Certainly anytime someone’s mental health is examined and studied, that can play into whether it’s appropriate to have this case in the juvenile system or in the adult system," Cotton says. "There are many more services available in the juvenile court system then there are in the adult criminal system."
Cotton would not say exactly what he’s seen from his client that called for him to ask for the exam, only that it is needed.
Both girls are being charged with attempted first degree intentional homicide, as a party to a crime, and use of a dangerous weapon. If found guilty in adult court, the preteens could face up to 65 years in prison. Both Cotton and Joseph Smith, Jr., the attorney for the other alleged attacker, say their clients’ families are remorseful.
“I’m mindful of the fact that the victim suffered some significant injuries and I join my client and my client’s family in wishing the victim a swift recovery,” Smith says.
Smith did not ask for a competency exam, although he says that could be an option in the future. He says he’ll move to have his client’s case tried in juvenile court rather than the adult system. The girls’ next court appearance is scheduled for July 2.
The stabbing victim was in the hospital for days after the attack, but now is recovering at home.