The nation was shocked and horrified to learn in May that two young girls had stabbed a friend 19 times before leaving her to die — all to impress a fictional internet apparition called “Slenderman.” The victim ultimately crawled to safety and the two 12-year-old attackers were arrested for the brutal attack.
As former prosecutors, our experienced Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that the competency of a defendant to stand trial (i.e., to assist in their own defense) is of true significance in pre-trial discussions between the prosecution team and the defense lawyers. According to one of the accused girls’ attorney, the 12-year-old, who claims to communicate with Slenderman (depicted on the right) and other characters such as Ninja Turtles, is not competent to stand trial and her case should be moved to juvenile court, wherein she would have greater access to social services.
Based on the testimony of two doctors who had met with the girl, the court found that, as of the pretrial hearing regarding competency, the girl was not competent to stand trial but might become competent to do so at some point.
Among the information used to demosntrate that the girl was/is incompetent to stand trial is the fact that the girl told doctors that she can communicate directly with Slenderman, the fictional bogeyman whose good graces you can enter after you’ve killed someone. Moreover, the girl told doctors that she also can communicate with other fictional characters such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
When the judge in the competency hearing asked the defendant if she was competent to stand trial, she stood silently, a (lack of) reaction that was noted in the transcription of the hearing. The judge, based on the doctors’ reports of the girls apparent incompetence, furhter evidenced by her apparent giddiness during her mental evaluations, ordered that she be committed for treatment. As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers understand it, a November 12th hearing has been scheduled to review the competency issue.
The girl found incompetent to stand trial (at least for now) has been charged, along with her friend, with attempted first-degree intentional homicide. According to the law in Wisconsin, where the crime took place, anyone over hte age of 10 who is charged with a severe crime like the one in this case, is to have their trial in adult court. If the defense attorneys get their way, the cases of these two clearly incompetent, disturbed young ladies wil be transferred to juvenile court, where more social and mental health services will be available to the defendants.
Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert will continue to monitor the developments in this case. If you have questions about this case, or if you have been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, please contact us to scheudle a free consultation. You can reach us by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363).