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MADISON, Wis. — Two girls accused of stabbing a classmate in a southeastern Wisconsin park to please a fantasy character called Slender Man will find out this week whether they will be tried on attempted homicide charges.
A preliminary hearing for the two girls is set to begin Monday in Waukesha County Circuit Court, where a judge will decide if there's enough evidence to order a trial. Prosecutors charged the girls as adults with first-degree attempted homicide in the attack last May, and each could be sentenced to up to 60 years in prison, if tried and convicted.
Preliminary hearings are often formalities but can sometimes become mini-trials complete with witness testimony. Judge Michael Bohren has set aside Monday and Tuesday for the hearing, suggesting it could be extensive. Bohren ruled that the alleged attackers are competent to stand trial in December. The Associated Press isn't naming them because their attorneys have said they may still seek to move their cases into juvenile court, where proceedings are secret.
According to court documents, the girls had been planning to kill the victim for months to curry favor with the fictional Slender Man, discussing their scheme using code words. They lured the girl to a wooded Waukesha park where she was stabbed 19 times. It's unclear from the documents who did the stabbing. One of the girls said the other did it; that girl said they both did it.
The girls left the victim bleeding in the woods, according to prosecutors. She crawled to a sidewalk where a bicyclist found her and called 911. The two girls accused of attacking her were found walking toward the Nicolet National Forest where they say they thought they would join Slender Man in his mansion. Police found two knives on the girls.
All the girls were 12 at the time of the incident. One of the girls accused in the stabbing has since turned 13.