MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A judge’s decision to release a Wisconsin woman who helped stab her sixth-grade classmate to please online horror character Slender Man from a mental health facility has left the victim’s family nervous and afraid, a spokesman said Tuesday.
Waukesha County Judge Michael Bohren on Friday ordered 19-year-old Anissa Weier released from the Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh, ruling she’s no longer a threat and conditions on her release should protect both her and the community. Weier has spent nearly four years at the facility.
Bohren scheduled her release for Monday, but it’s unclear whether Weier has left the facility. Officials with the state Department of Health Services, which oversees Winnebago, have repeatedly refused to so much as acknowledge Weier was a patient out of privacy concerns. Weier’s attorney, Maura McMahon, said she’s not allowed access to Weier’s transportation plans. She didn’t immediately respond to a message Tuesday.
Steve Lyons, a spokesman for victim Payton Leutner’s family, said Tuesday that they’re disappointed with Bohren’s decision and Weier should have served more time at Winnebago.
“We’re just nervous that she’s going to be out,” Lyons said. “We’re nervous about the potential of what could happen.”
Weier and a friend, Morgan Geyser, both were committed to Winnebago after pleading guilty to attacking Leutner when they were all 12 years old.
Geyser stabbed Leutner multiple times in a Waukesha park as Weier urged her on. Leutner suffered 19 wounds — including one that narrowly missed her heart — and barely survived.
Weier and Geyser later told investigators they attacked Leutner to earn a place as Slender Man’s servants and prevent him from killing their families. Bohren sentenced Weier in December 2017 to 25 years at Winnebago and Geyser to 40 years at the facility in February 2018.
Weier petitioned for release in March, saying she had exhausted her treatment options. Bohren ruled in July that she no longer posed a threat. He signed off on a conditional release plan Friday before ordering the facility to release her on Monday.
Under the plan, Weier must live with her father, continue to receive psychiatric care and submit to around-the-clock GPS monitoring. She can’t have any contact with Leutner’s family, can’t possess any weapons and can’t use social media. The Department of Corrections will monitor her limited internet use.
Leutner’s family declined to speak during Friday’s court hearing on the plan. Lyons said Tuesday that the family is “reasonably comfortable” with the conditions but Leutner’s safety and the community’s safety must come first.
He added that Leutner no longer lives in Waukesha County and is now a college sophomore with a part-time job. He declined to name the college or her employer. He did say that she just bought her first used car on Monday and has two cats, Salem and Lilith.
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