Slender Man stabbing, schizophrenia, and Miranda rights

If you are schizophrenic and twelve, arrested for viciously stabbing a classmate, and sign your name to something that waives your Miranda rights, should that be allowable in court? Morgan Geyser’s mother says no, and wants her daughter’s confession waived.

The judge in the trial said Geyser and Anissa Weier, who was also arrested, should be tried as adults because Wisconsin law mandates that juveniles be released from custody at eighteen, and given the seriousness of what they did, he wasn’t sure they could be rehabilitated by then. Neither am I. Geyser’s mom has a point, however their guilt in incontrovertible. Waiving the confession won’t make any appreciable difference. The mom seems more concerned with mental health issues. That’s a good thing.

The Slender Man case is so unalterably weird that there is no convenient category to put it in. It should be noted that Geyser was diagnosed with schizophrenia, which means she was unable to tell the difference between reality and fantasy. That’s why she thought Slender Man was real and wanted her to kill her classmate.

Thanks to medications and treatment, she’s no longer schizophrenic. However, what happens if, say, she is released from prison, and stops taking her meds. No one knows the answer to that.

Thanks to petitions and persistence of her parents, Morgan is now in the Winnebago Mental Health Institute instead of a windowless room in prison. “It took us 19 months to get her treatment after she was arrested,” Angie says. “This isn’t about Slender Man. It could be a really good opportunity to have a conversation about mental illness, about this illness in childhood, about children in court. And I wish there would be more focus on that.

After months of withdrawing into constant hallucinations – at one point, even stabbing herself with a pencil – Morgan Geyser began taking medication. As it took effect, Angie explains, Morgan’s psychosis retracted and her hallucinations disappeared. She was able to perceive what she had done to her friend and understand the fact that she now faced decades in prison. Before the medication, Morgan had not been aware of her surroundings. She didn’t have any emotion or preference about her circumstances, and she even told her parents that she didn’t care if she went to jail since her hallucinations would be there to keep her company. But now, with medication, reality has set in. “When she thinks back to the reason that she was arrested, it’s like looking at another persons memory,” Angie says shakily. “It’s hard for her to grasp why she’s in custody when she’s better now.”

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