"She started to show affection toward the family and she started to show empathy toward the victim," attorney Anthony Cotton says

By Elaine Aradillas
Updated March 14, 2016 04:10 PM
Credit: Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/TNS/Getty

Morgan Geyser, one of two teenage Wisconsin girls accused of trying to stab a classmate to death to appease the online fictional character “Slenderman” was moved to a state mental hospital in January after spending 19 months in jail, her attorney tells PEOPLE.

Geyser, along with Anissa Weier, both 12 at the time, were arrested for stabbing their friend, Payton Leutner, 12, approximately 19 times. At the time of their arrest in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Geyser told police she was on her way to see Slenderman, who according to Internet lore, lives in a mansion in a national park.

“A lot of kids have fictional friends,” her attorney Anthony Cotton tells PEOPLE, “but she actually believed [Slenderman] was real and was actually seeing the character.”

Once she entered the treatment facility, doctors began giving her medication to treat her for schizophrenia, a brain disorder that causes people to abnormally interpret reality, which Geyser was diagnosed with having, according to Cotton. Since January, doctors and family members have noticed an improvement in her mental state, he says.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

“She started to show affection toward the family and she started to show empathy toward the victim,” Cotton says.

He adds: “Her affection toward others changed, and more importantly, the fictional characters went away and the voices disappeared. She became the Morgan that her family remembers from the years prior to the incident.”

Attorneys for both girls attempted to move the trial to juvenile court, but both suspects have been ordered to stand trial as adults. The case is currently on hold while the decision is under appeal.

The case made headlines again recently when HBO announced it would air a documentary about the case. The movie premiered at Austin’s South by Southwest festival over the weekend.

Reporting by GREG HANLON