- Associated Press - Monday, September 21, 2015

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) - A Wisconsin judge on Monday suspended the case of two 13-year-old girls accused of trying to kill a classmate near Milwaukee while an appeals court decides whether to review a decision to keep the case in adult court.

Judge Michael Bohren removed the girls’ October trial date from his calendar and delayed hearing pre-trial motions, the Journal Sentinel reported (https://bit.ly/1WdDsIm ).

The two girls are charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the May 2014 attack on Payton Leutner. Investigators say the girls lured Payton to a park in Waukesha where they stabbed her 19 times in an effort to appease the online fictional character Slender Man. They left her for dead, but Payton was able to crawl from a wooded area where she was discovered by a bicyclist. After several surgeries, she has returned to school.

Defense attorneys are appealing Bohren’s August decision to keep the girls’ case in adult court, where convictions could send them to prison for up to 45 years. As juveniles, they could be incarcerated for up to three years and then supervised until age 18.

The Court of Appeals has not indicated whether it will review Bohren’s decision.

All three girls were 12 years old at the time of the attack. Anyone 10 years or older who is charged with first-degree attempted homicide is automatically considered an adult under Wisconsin law. The Associated Press hasn’t identified the girls because the case could return to juvenile court, where proceedings are closed.

Waukesha is about 20 miles west of Milwaukee.

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