Parents defend daughter accused in ‘Slender Man’ stabbing as trial approaches

(ABC NEWS) – The parents of Anissa Weier, one of two 12-year-old girls who allegedly stabbed another girl 19 times in an effort to impress fictional internet character “Slender Man,” said today they were as shocked by the 2014 attack as everyone else.

“It was really kind of surreal from the time I got the phone call,” Bill Weier, Anissa’s father, told “Good Morning America” today of his reaction to news of his daughter’s alleged connection to the incident in the woods of a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, suburb. “I think surreal is the best way to describe it.”

Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, both now 15, have been charged with the attempted murder of Payton Leutner, who was purportedly their friend at the time of the attack, and will be tried as adults this summer in a Wisconsin court.

They remain in jail after a judge last year denied their motions for bail reductions. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges on grounds of mental illness.

The injured Payton Leutner purportedly crawled to a road where a cyclist found her and alerted authorities. She was rushed to a hospital, and survived.

Morgan Geyser is brought into court by a sheriff’s deputy on Aug. 21, 2015 during the arraignment of the Slenderman stabbing trial in Waukesha County Court in Waukesha, Wisconsin. more +

The interview with Anissa’s parents comes in advance of a forthcoming HBO documentary, “Beware the Slenderman,” which will air for the first time next Monday.

“This isn’t a ‘whodunit,’” Irene Taylor Brodsky, the director of the documentary, told “GMA” of the film. “We know they did it. It’s really a ‘howdunit.’ It’s a ‘whydunit.’”

The Weiers’ described their daughter as being remorseful and don’t believe she should be tried as an adult because they say the laws are not sufficiently up-to-date with the science of juvenile brain development.

Anissa Weier, accused of being involved in the stabbing of another girl related to the “Slenderman” online story, is led into the courtroom on Dec. 22, 2016, in Waukesha, Wisconsin. more +

Children as young as 10 can be tried as adults in Wisconsin.

Kristi Weier, Anissa’s mother, told “GMA” that when HBO approached her, she agreed to participate in an effort to help other parents who might be caught off guard by what their children are consuming online.

“If we were not able to help our daughter,” she said, “we might be able to help someone else.”

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