“Today, Payton is a strong young woman who is excelling in school and doing many things that a teenager would do with her family and friends,” says family spokesman Steve Lyons.
On Tuesday, the same day Payton turned 15, a Waukesha County judge set a trial date in her case for Oct. 2 and ruled that a confession by suspect Morgan Geyser will be admissible. The judge also ruled there will be no change of venue, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Lyons says Payton and her family are “pleased” with the judge’s decisions.
“We’re confident Payton and her family will see justice for this horrible, pre-meditated crime,” says Lyons, who works for the law firm Husch Blackwell in Madison, Wisconsin.
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On May 31, 2014, police say Payton, then 12-years old, was lured by friends Anissa Weier and Morgan into the woods near their homes and attacked as part of a murder plot. The girls, also 12 at the time, left Payton to die but she managed to crawl to a bike path where a passerby found her and called 911, according to investigators.
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Anissa and Morgan later told police they committed the stabbing in the name of “Slenderman,” a fictional online character popular in horror stories. The case became the subject of the HBO documentary Beware the Slenderman.
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The suspects are being charged as adults and have been in custody since the attack on charges of attempted first-degree intentional homicide. They have both pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. A judge is expected to announce Anissa’s trial date at her next hearing on Feb. 20.