Lawyer in stabbing case seeks girl's mental record

 

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  • Lawyer in stabbing case seeks girl's mental record

Associated Press

An attorney for one of two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls accused of stabbing and nearly killing a classmate in hopes of pleasing a fictional online character has filed a motion seeking access to the mental health records of the other girl charged in the case.

One girl has been found mentally incompetent by two doctors — one for the defense and one appointed by the state. Prosecutors asked for the right to challenge those conclusions and may do so at a hearing Aug. 1.

Joseph Smith Jr., who represents the other girl, filed a motion Tuesday asking the judge to grant him access to those competency-evaluation reports. He said the material was relevant and necessary for his client's defense. Smith argued that the records weren't related to private patient care initiated by the girl, so her confidentiality rights were outweighed by his client's need for the information.

Attorney Anthony Cotton, who represents the girl who had the mental evaluation, didn't immediately respond to a message Thursday.

Prosecutors say the girls plotted for months to kill their 12-year-old friend in hopes of currying favor with a popular online specter known as Slender Man. They lured their friend to a park west of Milwaukee on May 31 and stabbed her 19 times in the arms, legs and torso, authorities said.

The Associated Press is not naming the girls, who are charged as adults, while there is a chance their cases will be sent to juvenile court. The victim is recovering at home.

The Aug. 1 hearing will include discussion beyond the issue of whether Cotton's client is mentally competent to assist in her own defense. Prosecutor Susan Opper has asked that the girl be compelled to undergo another evaluation to determine whether she had a mental disease or defect at the moment of the crime.

Waukesha County Judge Michael Bohren granted the second exam, but later put his ruling on hold after Cotton argued that such tests are usually ordered only after a defendant pleads not guilty by reason of insanity. His client has not entered a plea.

In a response filed Wednesday, prosecutors said the test likely will be needed at some point, and the results would be more accurate if it were administered promptly rather than after a long delay.

Dinesh Ramde can be reached at dramde@ap.org.

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