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Two girls accused of stabbing a friend because of a belief in "Slender Man" have been found competent to stand trial.
Anissa Weier, 13, and Morgan Geyser, 13, allegedly attempted a sort of ritualistic murder to please "Slender Man" -- a fictional, shadowy figure that began as an Internet meme. According to ABC News, the victim, a then 12-year-old friend of Weier and Geyser, was stabbed 19 times with a large kitchen knife last May, but thankfully survived.
What does competency to stand trial mean for these girls in the "Slender Man" trial?
In every state, a defendant must be mentally competent in order to stand trial. A defendant is competent to stand trial as long as he or she is able to understand the nature of the legal proceedings against him or her. Claims of incompetency are often confused with the insanity defense, because often defendants who appear mentally disturbed claim both.
Here's the difference: A person can be competent to stand trial and successfully claim the insanity defense. However, if a person is incompetent to stand trial, the case will be put on hold until that person is found competent. Courts can periodically order mental evaluations to determine when (if ever) a defendant is ready to stand trial.
In the case of the two 13-year-old defendants, state experts concluded that both girls were competent to stand trial, which both girls' attorneys contested. The Associated Press reports that this led to two back-to-back hearings on Thursday to determine the teens' competency.
Geyser's attorneys waived her right to a hearing, with the judge automatically finding her competent, according to ABC News. Weier's legal team litigated her competency hearing, with the judge ultimately ruling that she was competent as well.
This means that the "Slender Man" stabbing case will now proceed to a preliminary hearing, where a judge will determine if there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.
The case is being handled outside the juvenile system as both girls were charged as adults in June.
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