MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin state appeals court ruled Wednesday that two girls accused of trying to kill their classmate in an attempt to please the fictional horror character Slender Man should be tried as adults.
The girls were 12 years old in 2014 when, investigators say, they lured 12-year-old Payton Leutner to a park in Waukesha, about 20 miles west of Milwaukee, and stabbed her 19 times. Their attorneys argue they should be tried as juveniles.
But in a pair of rulings Wednesday, the 2nd District Appeals court affirmed a lower court's determination that it was reasonable to try both girls as adults. The girls could appeal the rulings to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The Associated Press left messages with the girls' attorneys seeking comment.
The AP hasn't identified the defendants because their cases could still move to juvenile court, where proceedings are closed. They are both now 14 years old.
Kevin Osborne, the assistant Waukesha County District Attorney, said he was pleased with the decisions, but declined further comment because he has not yet read them.
The appeals court said Wednesday that the Waukesha County Circuit Court properly examined the fact and rationally determined that the girls should be tried as adults.
The girls have been charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide and if convicted could go to prison for up to 65 years. As juveniles, they could be incarcerated for up to three years then supervised until age 18.
Slender Man is described in fictional stories as an unnaturally tall, thin demon-like figure that lacks facial features. He is said to live in a mansion in a forest. Authorities say the girls intended to sacrifice Payton for Slender Man and hoped to live with him in that fictional home as a result.
After the stabbing, the girls left Payton for dead, but she managed to crawl from a wooded area where she was discovered by a bicyclist.
An HBO documentary on the case was released in March.