Two Wisconsin girls charged as adults
in the ritual stabbing of another 12-year-old girl could claim that a horror-themed Web site influenced their actions, Newsmax TV legal analyst Michelle Suskauer said on Wednesday.
"That may be something that they could use, potentially, as mitigation," Suskauer told "America's Forum" hosts J.D. Hayworth and John Bachman.
The victim survived 19 stab wounds inflicted by the two girls, who had planned the attack for months and carried it out on Saturday morning after a slumber party by luring the victim into a wooded area, according to a criminal complaint filed by prosecutors in Waukesha County.
One suspect told police they were making a sacrifice to "The Slender Man," a make-believe monster they had read about on "Creepypasta Wiki," a Web site dedicated to horror stories and scary mythology.
"They were trying to prove themselves to this fictional character, Slender Man," said Suskauer, noting that defendants in various criminal cases over time have sought to blame books, music, movies, television and computer games for their actions.
Whether these two girls, both charged as adults with first-degree attempted homicide, go that route remains to be seen. They have another court date on Wednesday, June 11. But Suskauer said an Internet defense could be offered as a mitigating circumstance "based on their young age and how impressionable they are."
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Asked if a "Slender Man" defense wouldn't be patently absurd, she said, "As a criminal defense lawyer I don't want to say that there are any defenses that are absurd if they are successful. … If these girls had that mental impressionability to be swayed by this [Web site], that will be brought up in court."
It's also not certain the two will remain — as prosecutors are requesting — in the adult criminal court system throughout the entire process, up to and including punishment if they're found guilty.
"There's a question as to … how do we treat children who commit violent crimes in the adult system," said Suskauer, "and the Supreme Court actually has been dealing with that."
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