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Cops: 12-Year-Old Girls Stab Friend 19 Times

Aired June 3, 2014 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, breaking news in that middle school murder plot. We`ve got new and deeply disturbing details about those two 12-year-old girls accused of stabbing their classmate 19 times after a slumber party.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live.

Tonight, we are learning this sobbing father -- you see him there, leaving court sobbing. He is the father of one of the suspects, and there are reports that he allegedly knew about his daughter`s obsession with skulls and the fictional online bogeyman named Slender Man.

Now, Slender Man is the character cops believe inspired these young girls to try and stab their good friend, who is also 12, to death. Luckily, she survived.

Police say 12-year-old Morgan Geyser and 12-year-old Anissa Weier lured their victim into the woods and took turns stabbing her 19 times. Incredibly, miraculously, the girl survived by crawling to her rescue. She`s alive tonight, fighting for her life.

The alleged motive: it is bizarre and terrifying. Cops say these girls were trying to impress a fictional Internet monster who required somebody entering his realm to kill first.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a very disturbing investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s absolutely horrible. It`s frightening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Accused of carrying out a real-life nightmare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aren`t even teenagers, but they are charged as adults with attempted homicide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One suspect held the victim down while the other suspect stabbed her 19 times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The dark connection to the Internet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The suspects` fascination with Slender Man...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My friends are like oh, my God, this is crazy. Like 12-year-olds.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The 12-year-old suspects were arrested Saturday, shortly after a bicyclist discovered the bloody victim, a girl clinging to life at the edge of the woods. Here`s part of the 911 call.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you with this 12-year-old female?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, she says she`s having trouble breathing. She said she was stabbed multiple times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stabbed multiple times?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, sir, are you with her right now?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she breathing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, she`s breathing. She says she can take shallow breaths. She`s alert.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police are not identifying the victim. Doctors say she was, quote, "one millimeter from certain death," with some of her major organs taking a direct hit.

Suspect Anissa Weier told cops the victim screamed, "I hate you. I trusted you" after the stabbing finally stopped.

The girls allegedly began plotting the attack months ago. They hoped to show their dedication to that fictional online character called Slender Man. They say they first discovered Slender Man on a website for horror stories called creepypasta wiki. Check it out.



GRAPHIC: Just spreading the word. Start reading these and other haunted stories now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is unbelievable. One girl -- these young girls are skating at a skating rink, a slumber party, the very next morning. They`re luring a playmate to what cops called a long-planned, premeditated attempted murder.

How can adolescent children be this -- what should we call it, evil? These girls are going to be tried as adults. But should they? They`re only 12. What do you think? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586- 7297. I want to hear from you.

My Lion`s Den panel is ready to debate tonight, but first to CNN correspondent, Miguel Marquez, live in Wisconsin where this hideous crime went down. Miguel, what is the very latest tonight?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the very latest is that victim is doing well. She was able for the first time to sit up today. She is cooperating with police and able to talk with them. It is not clear how much they can actually good go into the details.

You play a little bit of that 911 call, that bicyclist found her right along this trail here in this area, and this is the area where this young girl was -- was found.

Police say their investigation is still ongoing, and that they will continue to look into this for some time. They`re now looking into the computers of not only the victim, but also the perpetrators of this, and also looking at where they were 24 hours leading up to this horrific crime -- Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, both girls are charged as adults. Remember, they`re 12. But they`re charged as adults with attempted first-degree murder. They could go to prison for the rest of their lives if convicted. Or virtually the rest of their lives, 65 years.

Now, some are saying, reading the criminal complaint, which I studied today at length, that it appears at first glance the ring leader, or perhaps the dominant one, might be Morgan Geyser. Again, that`s just a cursory examination. We don`t know everything yet. It`s still coming up to the surface.

But listen to what the other suspect, Anissa, told cops after they arrested her.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "I thought, dear God, this was really happening. Needed to talk to Geyser and told Geyser she couldn`t do it. Started walking away from Geyser and told Geyser, `Go ballistic, go crazy.` Geyser was pounding in her head when Geyser was stabbing P.L., and Geyser believes she stabbed P.L. 17 times."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the Lion`s Den. And I want to start with our exclusive guest. She will remain anonymous. Her daughter is classmates with Anissa Weierd. That is the girl, I believe, with the short hair that you`re looking at there.

So thank you for joining us, ma`am. I know this has to be a shock to you. Looking at some of the photos of these girls, they look like average, all-American, clean-cut young ladies. What is your reaction to this unimaginable crime?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): It`s -- I`m in shock right now. My family is in shock about this entire situation, that 12-year-olds are capable of such horror.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s just absolutely crazy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your daughter, we want to make sure we don`t identify her anyway, but she`s classmates with Anissa, one of the suspects. What does she make of all this, and what was her reaction? Because this, again, a 12-year-old, a middle-school student. Nobody can ever predict something like this. Did she -- did this girl seem normal?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: according to my daughter, she seemed like she was just a normal, happy little girl. She -- she has done some projects with her. She, you know -- during a special class program. And she just acted like a normal kid.

And that`s what`s so disturbing about this, is because these girls that look like normal children have such hate. And this is what Internet is doing to our kids. This is absolutely devastating.

The victim`s family, I actually went to high school with the father. My prayers go out to them. Because I couldn`t even imagine going through something like that. This is so upsetting.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, we`re talking exclusively to a lady who, obviously for obvious reasons, wants to remain anonymous. Her daughter is in the same class with one of the suspects, Anissa Weier, and she`s providing very important information.

My understanding, my producer who spoke with you said that you told her that your kids -- the kids in this middle school, particularly in this class or including this class, learn everything on an iPad and that at one point this Anissa had shown your daughter a Slender Man game on this iPad, the school iPad?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had had stated that she was shown a game called Slendyman on the iPad. And she talked about it a lot. But a lot of kids talk about it, but my daughter really wasn`t into that type of thing.

My son, who is 10, also made, you know, talk about this. So this is known with young children. And this is just scary stuff. This is not just a novel. This is kids believing that this is real. And this is -- this is the reality. This is happening in suburban areas. I`m just absolutely mortified. And I cannot conceive what the family of the victim is going through.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And you know...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There needs to be awareness.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... it`s horrifying for everyone. It`s horrifying for everyone. I mean, the family members of the two suspects, 12-year-old girls, were in court and obviously devastated and in shock. These girls are so young.

You know, you`ve got to wonder, were they acting out because something could be wrong at home? We don`t have the answer to that.

Anissa`s dad, and you`ll see him, he walks stoically through the courthouse saying only "No comment" to the crush of reporters, obviously in shock.

Morgan`s dad sobbed uncontrollably as he left court. Take a look at him there. He is sobbing. The Geyser family attorney says they`re in utter shock. But we have to ask tonight. It`s our obligation. Were there warning signs from within the Geyser home?

Tonight "The Daily Mail" is reporting that Matt Geyser`s Instagram account has a photo of a Slender Man sketch, and he reportedly captioned it, quote, "Only Mogo" -- which is short for Morgan -- "draws Slender Man in crayon on a napkin when we`re out to dinner."

Now, "The Daily Mail" claims that this dad`s Instagram feed reportedly includes Goth drawings and dark cartoons. So we`ve reached out to the dad himself and gotten no comment. He`s invited him on our show any time.

So I want to go out to our Lion`s Den. Look, I have to say this. Areva Martin, you know, Goth has gone mainstream. Plenty of people, you go into somebody`s house, they have a little Goth thing or they have a Goth shirt. That means nothing.

But if the father had been aware of Slender Man to the point where he posted something on his Instagram, purportedly, allegedly, does that say anything? I mean, is it possible he had absolutely no clue what Slender Man really meant to his daughter?

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: Well, whether he had a clue or not, Jane, he absolutely had an obligation to have a clue.

You know, everyone is using the words hateful for these two 12-year- olds. And I don`t want to suggest that these girls should not be punished. What happened is horrific. I`m a parent. I can`t imagine, you know, my child being stabbed 19 times.

But these two 12-year-old girls were impressionable. I don`t think they were hateful at all. They lacked impulse control. They were easily pressured by their peers.

VELEZ -MITCHELL: They stabbed -- excuse me.

MARTIN: They are not developmentally...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: When you stab somebody -- have you read the criminal complaint?

MARTIN: I have read it, Jane. And you have to talk about the impressionality (ph) of these 12-year-old girls. These -- it`s like girls in a cult. They were being brainwashed by this fictional character on this site.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, this is absolutely incredible to me that you can`t...

SWICKLE: It is, it is. It is. But it`s not a surprise to me. I can tell you that. Because we see this all of the time. While these kids are responsible...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, we don`t. No, we don`t. Excuse me.

SWICKLE: Oh, no, Jane. In my practice, I do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Back to planet earth, please. I`m sorry. We don`t see 12-year-old girls trying to kill their 12-year-old friends.

SWICKLE: I do. I do, Jane. I see kid-on-kid crimes all the time.

But what this is, is a bigger problem. This is a problem where we are allowing our children to be raised by these disgusting, horrible Internet sites where we know now that a father even knew about it.

That`s not a justification. These kids did something horribly wrong. But there is a bigger picture here, and we need to watch what our kids are watching. We need to protect our children from these things. There is no regulation whatsoever. And I have seen these things in my practice.


SWICKLE: It`s not as unusual as you may think...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Yo, you know, when I was a kid I read a lot of books. It doesn`t mean because I read "War and Peace," I wanted to go wage war on anybody.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It doesn`t mean because I -- yes, I mean, we`ve all had literature that has been disturbing.

MICHAEL YO, CORRESPONDENT, "THE INSIDER": Jane, I listened to NWA and all gangsta rap growing up, but I did not want to kill anybody. This is ridiculous.

It all comes down to the parents, let`s be honest. And everybody says, "I feel bad for the parents." It`s about work. And that`s the problem with American society today. People don`t want to put work in. And the parents need to actually watch what their kids are watching. They -- I remember growing up, we had one computer in the house, and my parents knew every single time I was on that computer and what I was looking at.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Yo, we just heard the mother of a young girl who was in the class with one of the suspects say that...

YO: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... they have iPads. They learn on iPads. They don`t have a pen and pencil anymore. They don`t have notebooks, spiral notebooks, the way we did. Everything is on the iPad.

YO: There needs to be restrictions, though. There has to be restrictions. There has to be restrictions, and parents are not talking to their kids. And that`s what it`s about. Talking to your kids. Knowing what they`re doing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Luann, Pennsylvania. Dr. Luann, Pennsylvania, you`re a caller. What do you have to say?

CALLER: Hi, Jane. Being a medical examiner myself, and a physician for 32 years, I have seen all -- all types of things. And when it comes to young people, I really feel today they`re much more sophisticated. And I really feel that they should be held accountable for their actions.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, we`re going to debate that, Doctor, on the other side. These are 12-year-old girls. Should they be tried as adults in an adult court of law? Should they be sentenced, if convicted, to 65 years behind bars? OK? Sixty-five years. They`ll be senior citizens by the time they get out.

We`re going to debate it on the other side. Stay right there.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With her head hung and long blond hair nearly covering her face, 12-year-old Morgan Geyser appears in court. Geyser and her friend, now codefendant, 12-year-old Anissa Weier, aren`t even teenagers, but they are charged as adults with attempted homicide.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: According to their statements to cops in the criminal complaint, both Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser -- did I mention they`re 12 years old? OK. They`re accused of attempted first-degree murder. They were obsessed with an Internet meme, basically a modern-day bogeyman, called Slender Man they discovered on a website called creepypasta wiki. Take a look.


GRAPHIC: Slenderman just want someone to hold my hand. Slenderman still visits me. All I have to do is draw on my black well. A human without senses can perceive. Room Zero.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s creepy. I don`t understand any of it. I want to say that creepypasta wiki says this is a fictional sort of platform where people can share scary stories. They don`t condone violence or killing or anything of that nature. Just want to make that clear.

Now -- but the young suspect, Morgan Geyser, told cops that Slender Man watches her and can read her mind and even teleports.

Cops say the other 12-year-old suspect, Anissa Weier, told them that Morgan suggested, quote, "We should be proxies of Slender." They say they have to kill "to prove ourselves worthy of Slender."

Back out to the Lion`s Den and a special guest, Doug Gross, technology reporter. You know, I can`t make heads or tails out of this stuff when I look at it. But it is creepy; it`s scary. If a kid got wrapped up in that and then came to believe that Slender Man is real -- first of all, do you think they really thought that Slender Man is a real person?

DOUG GROSS, CNN.COM TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Well, when you or I were 12, did we think Freddie Krueger was real? Did we think Jason was real or Michael Myers? It`s the exact same thing.

We`re in an Internet age. They get their entertainment on the Internet.

Slender Man has been around for five years. There are videos. There are video games. There are memes all over the place, fan art. This is just their horror.

What the -- what the site is, is kids and maybe some older users writing horror stories and sharing them with each other. It`s what they do. So to say that, oh, this evil Internet site is what`s causing these girls to have these horrible problems, you know, why didn`t Freddie make us all go try to slash people up? It`s the exact same argument.


GROSS: The website has been very clear in saying -- obviously, they send out their regards to the family. They send out their condolences. But look, it`s 99.99 percent of people who come here know exactly what they`re getting. They`re getting stories that other users have written.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. We`ve got to bring in the psychotherapist, Stacy Kaiser. OK, the point has been made, a lot of young people look at this stuff, and they`re not influenced. So does that mean we need to extrapolate that these kids are disturbed in a way that has nothing to do with this website or Slender Man or anything else?

STACY KAISER, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: I do think that there`s a combination of things going on here. There is something psychologically wrong. It may be that one of them is having delusions, because 12-year-olds know the difference between right and wrong. They know what`s real and what`s not real. So if she is delusional, if she`s having some kind of a psychotic break, she may be bringing in her friend who`s easily influenced by her.

But I also think it`s that lack of parental monitoring. And in this case, the Internet was literally just the vehicle that led her down the path to what -- led them both down the path to what they ultimately did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Areva Martin, they`re being charged as adults. As adults. Sixty-five and 12, OK? You do the math. Seventy- seven years old when they would get out. Is that fair?

MARTIN: Absolutely not, Jane. There is a constitutional question here. Are these girls even competent to stand trial in adult court? You know, we keep talking about this complaint, that they told the police what they did. You know, did they understand their rights? Did they waive their right against self-incrimination?

These little girls probably thought, if we tell the police what we did, guess what? We`ll go home.

You know, if I catch my kid doing something bad, they think that if they come and fess up, there aren`t consequences. Twelve-year-olds cannot appreciate the consequences of their actions. These girls could not imagine that they would be facing 65 years.

MARTIN: These girls knew -- these girls knew -- what self-defense was. Killing -- did they know right from wrong. That`s different, Jane, in a court of law in terms of competence.

SWICKLE: Not only that. We`ve got to see what these psychologicals say. We`ve got to look at what the psychologicals -- because that could affect whether or not they should be treated as adults. Their maturity, their age, their psychological condition. And I think the state jumped to a conclusion here without looking at these psychologicals.

So I think that`s very important. Because I think these kids are three cheeseburgers short of a Happy Meal, to be quite honest with you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Lockwood, private investigator. Here`s what Morgan Geyser said when she talked about the attempted killing. She described it as, quote, "Stabby-stab-stab. Stabby-stab-stab." Like in a sarcastic way. And then she goes on to say, "It was Weierd. And I didn`t feel remorse."

LISA LOCKWOOD, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Yes. Yes. Thank you. These -- these young ladies plotted for months. Plotted back in December. We are now May. We`re June. So six months of plotting, thinking about "When are we going to have our day. When is this going to happen? How are we going to do it?" Everything was calculated.

They had the intelligent intellect to know what they wanted to do and how they were going to hide the body and how the blood was going to drain. Everything is in the complaint. They`re a lot smarter than what people are purporting them to be right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ms. Moseley, Virginia. Ms. Moseley, Virginia, what do you have to say?

CALLER: Frankly, I think that the parents should be tried also. Because the guy, the father says that he knew what his child was doing.

Now, my children have laptops in school also. But they are monitored. They cannot go off site. They can`t go to Facebook. They can`t go to any other site.

And a comment was just made, "Stabby-stab-stab." If her parents knew what she was doing, what she was watching, how she was feeling, they should have gotten her help first. Tried as an adult. That is bogus, especially if the parents knew. You`re supposed to monitor your children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side of the break, we`re going to show you two photos. One is Morgan with a birthday cake, and the other is her with a birthday gift. But look at the details, and you will see skulls in both of them. Bones. Stay right there. That`s on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The criminal complaint says Weier and Geyser plotted for months to kill their friend, another 12-year-old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both suspects had had a fascination with a fictitious character that often posted to a website that is a collection of small stories about death and horror.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve seen a lot of things on Facebook, and my friends are like, "Oh, my God, this is crazy. Like 12-year-olds."

She was never like that. Like, I never thought -- she was always quiet, always polite, never like outspoken or anything like that. So I just didn`t think that she would do something like that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: One of the suspects, Morgan Geyser, 12 years old and you`re looking at some photos that we dug up of Morgan.

Now, she looks like a happy, all-American, smiling girl. But when you look a little more closely -- and I`d like our panelists and our viewers at home to look at this -- we`re going to zoom out so we can see that she is wearing a skull on her T-shirt with the birthday cake, and she`s wearing ribs, like a skull-like skeleton-like T-shirt in the other photo.

Michael Yo, correspondent for "The Insider," you know, now it gives me chills to see that. Because that`s kind of a little indicator that something is a little off.

YO: Well, I mean, that doesn`t bother me. What bothers me is when people say, like, Freddie Krueger and we weren`t scared of that. Here`s the thing. The unbelievable is now believable.

Back in the day, we couldn`t talk to Freddie Krueger. Now, somebody can be behind a website, and like the guy said, you posted pictures and comments back and forth. Now you give life to whatever website you`re going to, through Twitter, through Facebook. People can actually reach out and talk to these little kids. That`s who we should be after.

The unbelievable is real now. The unbelievable is real. So now whatever threat is out there, it`s a real deal. Because now they`re interacting with these kids and persuading them to do things. And...

GROSS: But that`s absolutely not what happened in this case. This is a website...

YO: I`m not saying that`s what happened in this case. I`m not saying that`s what happened.

GROSS: it had stories on it. Kids read stories like I read Edgar Allan Poe. That hasn`t happened here.

And yet there are millions of sites 12-year-old girls on the Internet should not go to. But it`s 2014. They`re on the Internet. It`s going to happen.

YO: But it gives life. It gives life. It gives life to these websites. Any time you can add something to a website...

GROSS: Here`s the thing...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time. One at a time. OK. Look, you`re right. We all read -- I read -- I memorized most of Edgar Allan Poe`s "The Raven." You know, once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary, it doesn`t mean that I had to become immersed in that dark world.

Wouldn`t it be something, Stacy Kaiser, within the child or within the home that would take something that could be creepy and make it the theme and the obsession of your life?

KAISER: 100 percent, Jane. And one of the things that is really bother some to me that we have to pay attention to is the fact that that girl said "I felt no remorse." That is something that a sociopath, that a psychopath says. And that is making me worry about what is going on psychologically here.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, this criminal complaint -- go ahead.

SWICKLE: What I find to be interesting, if you look at the criminal complaint, and you listen to what the officer said or the individual said, she was a fantasy. It was more than just I look at something and move around.

They`re acknowledging there was a fantasy in this particular situation, which goes to psychological illness. And we`ve got to see what those exams show.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side of the break, you`re going to hear the words spoken by these two girls to the cops outlined in the criminal complaint. And they are creepy. They are frightening. And what it shows is, this was no, you know, spot-off thing. This was months in the planning with code words.

Stay right there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The disturbing criminal complaint both admitted to attacking their friend. Waukesha police say the two middle school age suspects said they believe in a fictional evil character called "Slenderman" and essentially wanted to be one of his disciples. To do so, they believed, required killing someone.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you with this 12-year-old female?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. She says she is having trouble breathing. She said she was stabbed multiple times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stabbed multiple times?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok, sir. Are you with her right now?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she breathing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, she is breathing. She said she can take shallow breaths. She is alert.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This was not a spur of the moment, heat of passion crime. Cops say the girls confessed that they spent months planning to stab their very good friend, whispering about it on the school bus and even creating code words.

Here is our producer reading from the criminal complaint.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would whisper about the plan to kill PL on the bus. Discussed but whispered about killing PL, because didn`t want people to hear, because would go to prison if they ever found out.

They often used code words, "cracker" meant knife or it meant killing. And "camping trip" meant the Nicolet National Park.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is kind of, Lisa Lockwood, private investigator, like a twisted version of games that we played as children, secret clubhouses, code words, et cetera. But at 12, things change. I mean you have hormones raging. And this is also the time, I think, when there is sort of an obsession with right of passage and initiation. That`s why at early puberty, some kids join a gang.

LISA LOCKWOOD, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Absolutely. Certainly, there is a sense, and a strong desire, a need to be part of a group. So what do kids do? They have choices. They can go the -- optimistic way, the great way to get involved in dance and music and the arts. Or they can get involved in a gang. They want a sense of community.

These girls, what my concern is, and why I do believe that they should be charged as adults, is because they`re missing an element of remorse in all of this -- the whole flippantness of stabby-stab. They absolutely knew that they were going to kill that young lady, and they went ahead and did it with complete planning. They are sociopaths, in my opinion, and they do not deserve to be released. They need to be taken out of society.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Areva Martin --

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: There is absolutely no evidence that these young girls are sociopaths. And I think we`re confusing intellect with developmental growth and maturity. Yes, they may be smart 12-year-olds, but that has nothing to do with their maturity level.

They planned this murder, because they wanted to impress a fictional character. They wanted to run off into the woods and live with a fictional character. They didn`t plan this because they were robbing this young girl or because they wanted to harm her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They wanted to kill her.

MARTIN: It was based on fiction -- Jane. You can`t get away from that fact. The girls` lack of maturity to know what they were doing and that has to be taken into account.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Not really, because one of them said to the cops, and it`s in the criminal complaint, they said they created the code words, because they specifically didn`t want anybody to find out what they were doing, because they knew they would end up in jail.

Adam Swickle, criminal defense attorney, some people have said that the girl you`re looking at there, Morgan, was the ring leader and this other one with the short hair was sort of the follower. I have no idea. But they will undoubtedly quite probably have two defense attorneys and each try to blame the other. How does that play out in court?

SWICKLE: I think that`s a great point, Jane. How it plays out in court is that one of them is going to argue that the other one was the ring leader and was the one who influenced the one who didn`t have the same maturity. And as a result, they may even argue that one of them should not be treated as an adult. Or one of them succumbed to the power of the other individual.

And it can play out in court, not only as to how you`re charged, but to what the level of culpability is if we get the sentencing, especially when we get the sentencing. It`s very, very important -- your culpability.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Areva, do you think it`s possible that they could get two totally different sentences?

MARTIN: I think that`s possible, Jane. And I also think we should be prepared that these cases may be sent to juvenile court. The lawyers in these cases are going to argue that these girls are incompetent to stand trial in adult court and that they should be tried as juveniles, where they can get rehabilitation.

They`ll still be punished. They can still stay in a juvenile facility up until the age of 25. But they`ll get rehabilitation, they`ll get services. And the studies show that when kids are treated and they`re punished in juvenile courts, their chances of reoffending are lessened than being tried in adult court and --


LOCKWOOD: Compassion cannot be taught in my opinion.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are you saying, Lisa Lockwood?

LOCKWOOD: Compassion cannot be taught. It`s either you have it or you don`t. So there was a deviant nature for knowing that they were going to kill somebody, and not feeling remorse and laughing about it, mocking it. Oh, well, yes, my intention was to kill her, I guess.

SWICKLE: Compassion cannot be taught?


SWICKLE: Of course it`s something that`s taught.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on a second. Hold on a second.

Phil Gross, I have to ask you, though. There is a lot of disturbing - - disturbing content on the Internet. When I wrote my book, "addict nation" I proved that it only takes three or four minutes to go from Google, and I`m not blaming Google, all the way to hardcore porn that I couldn`t even watch because it was so hardcore.

I mean, kids are impressionable. Do we need to take a look at kids` access to the Internet, because parents cannot keep track of everything? I know parents who have discovered their kids doing stuff on the Internet that they had no idea.

And these are good parents who were trying to catch every last little thing. And they`re not the NSA. They`re not equipped, technologically, to monitor every last thing with all the different social media.

DOUG GROSS, CNN.COM TECHNOLOGY REPORTER: Right. Well, I think that`s a sad truth. But I think it is a truth. It`s 2014. The Internet is out there. It doesn`t live in our town. It doesn`t live in our state. It doesn`t live in our country. It`s -- the worldwide web -- Obviously.

There`s no way to police the entire thing. There`s no way to stop the entire thing. Parents just have to do the best they can and it`s different. One thing I think that studies have shown is that a lot of these kids -- and this a horrifying, horrible, sad exception. Most of these kids, they`re growing up in ways that we didn`t. They understand some of this stuff in ways we don`t. Are kids going to be kids and do things they`re not supposed to on the Internet? Obviously, they are. But the majority of kids are making good decisions in ways we never could as non-digital natives.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. You know, I had books when I was growing up. And I got my hands on some books I shouldn`t have been reading at a young age. Did they influence me? Yes. But did they influence me to do something bad? I don`t think so.

Wow -- we are going to stay with this for the hour. The phone lines lighting up, exploding. We`re going to get to some of those calls right on the other side.

And then in just a little while, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, Nancy Grace is going to have much more on this astounding, unbelievable case. She is coming up at the top of the hour. Stay with us.


WILLIAM WEIER, SUSPECT`S BROTHER: My younger sister, Morgan, and -- were all going to go down to David`s Park just down the road.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Slenderman is the leader of the CreepyPasta. Slenderman is at the top of the triangle. Just below Slenderman is the killer. And below the killer is the proxy. In order to be a proxy, you needed to kill a person. This would show your dedication to Slenderman. Many people do not believe Slenderman is real. Wanted to prove skeptics wrong. Been reading the CreepyPasta wiki Web site since October of last year.

Morgan Geyser is also familiar with creepy pasta. Geyser said "We have to kill PL to prove ourselves worthy to Slender."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s our producer reading from the criminal complaint, which quotes these girls talking to cops. By the way, CreepyPasta wiki posted a statement, saying we feel sorry for all the families involved. The site is made for entertainment. It`s a place for people to share scary short stories. It does not condone murder or violence.

Now we just got this in -- this is breaking news. We got the sound of the older brother of one of the suspects, Anissa Weier, she`s the one with the short hair. He is talking to reporters before his kid sister and her friend are arrested. It`s very short, but listen, and then we`ll discuss it.


WEIER: My younger sister, Morgan, and -- were all going to go down to the David`s Park just down the road.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Very short. But I want to go to Stacy Kaiser, psychotherapist. Any thoughts?

KAISER: You know, I really do think that we`re not looking at the big picture here. There are definitely psychological problems here in play. And I think the parental supervision is an issue. And I`m just glad that there are conversations being had, and I think that we`re going to be finding out a lot more as the next couple of days pass.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We don`t know, Michael Yo. My heart goes out to these parents. This has got to be the shock of a lifetime to find your 12- year-old that you`ve raised and you`re very proud of, is accused of attempted murder. But, you know, we`re hearing reports that, you know, Goth may have been part of -- not a lifestyle, but maybe clothing attire or whatever.

Can that influence -- I mean, anymore than oh, gee, my dad had his old army uniform, and some of his medals or whatever. That`s not going to make me go and necessarily join the army. You know what I`m saying?

MICHAEL YO, CORRESPONDENT, "THE INSIDER": No, no. I know exactly what you`re saying. And what I think is Goth -- did this create it? No. But the parents not talking to their kids about it, the father posting pictures, really dark pictures, and not explaining, "Hey, Morgan, this is wrong," -- explaining that Slenderman is wrong. Instead of he celebrated it on his Instagram account.

Now, the dad`s Instagram at name is @deadboy420, @deadboy420. Defer have a conversation with Morgan and say, hey, Deadboy is not a good name, but I`m an adult, I can do this. Did he ever have that? That`s what I`m interested in.

The conversation, was this ever taken up with her, that this lifestyle, this dark lifestyle, you know, it`s an adult thing. I`m an adult. I can do this. But you can`t. I have to monitor you. Let me know if you ever feel like you should have had a conversation about Slenderman. This should have been nipped in the bud right then.

I feel that it just kind of passed because it was the lifestyle. And he was the one crying when he left court because he probably felt so responsible for it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, I can`t independently confirm what you just said. Those reports have come in, but we can`t independently confirm it. But what do you have to say about that, Doug Gross?

GROSS: Yes, you can look at a dad`s web presence and you`re hitting on something that is a very real question. What was the parenting here like? When you start getting into fashion, when you start getting into they enjoyed horror stories, they enjoyed horror movies, I think that`s really treacherous ground. I`ve already gotten since we have been talking here texts and tweets and Facebook messages from my friends who grew up wearing black, grew up wearing skulls and they`re all wonderful, wonderful human beings. I think it so dangerous --

YO: I`m not saying anything about that.

GROSS: No, I know you`re right. I think questioning whether dad was presenting the right kind of example, perfectly valid question. But, you know, she had a sweatshirt on with a skull. I know a lot of dear friends who would be in trouble if that got you --

YO: I`m interested to know this. I`m interested to know. this. Since the Web site, these kids say, hey, we committed a murder, because of this Web site; tried to commit a murder because of this Web site. Shouldn`t it be shut down?

GROSS: No, you should take look at that Web site, what they`re saying on the Web site is absolutely not there. They`re talking about a situation --

SWICKLE: See, that`s the problem.

GROSS: Yes, the Web site is stories that kids and probably some older users write. There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of them --

SWICKLE: That`s the problem.

GROSS: The problem is that --

SWICKLE: We don`t want to regulate the Internet.

YO: Yes, we don`t want to regulate the Internet.

GROSS: Stop reading, kids. It`s not good for you.

MARTIN: These are the First Amendment --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what -- let me tell you something. You don`t want to live in China or Russia --

GROSS: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- or places where you cannot get information. You`re going to open up Pandora`s Box. You start regulating these, and you give government the power to tell you what you can read and what you can`t read and the next thing you know, we`re living in a totalitarian society.

My gosh, they already know where I am every minute of the day, because of my cell phone. Luckily I left my cell phone upstairs so they don`t know where I am right now. Oh, yes, they do, I`m on television.

But the point is, we`re already giving away so much of our credence. We don`t want to give the government the right to censor what we can read. That`s up to the parents but it`s hard in the Internet age to figure out what your kids are doing on social media.

Stay right there. We are going to get to our calls. Marcel, Michigan -- we`ll get to you on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Morgan`s parents are very sad about what has happened. They`re horrified. And our condolences to everyone.




CHIEF RUSSELL JACK, WAUKESHA POLICE: It`s extremely disturbing, as a parent, and as a chief of police, that these, especially the age of our suspects, we told you they`re all 12 years old, the age of these suspects and being female both lead into, and obviously the details of what happened in the investigation, this is a very disturbing investigation.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you heard it there. Two 12-year-old girls accused of attempted murder -- attempting to kill their friend, stabbing her 19 times. Thank god she`s expected to live. But it was a very serious, serious attack.

Let`s go out to the phone lines. The very patient, Marcel, Michigan. Take it away Marcel.

MARCEL, MICHIGAN (via telephone): Hi. How are you, Jane?


MARCEL: Hi, Jane. I`m a first-time caller as well as a first-time viewer. I just had to call in about this issue. It just caught my attention.

This is something that I think is just so sad. I`m a 25-year-old male. And seeing a story like this, I`m just so glad that I`m not in high school or middle school any more. I`m from the millennial generation, and these are just things we did not have to worry about. We came up watching some of the most graphic horror movies and mop movies. But they were just that -- movies and entertainment. We knew the difference between reality and, you know, fiction. And it makes me wonder --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Marcel, I have to say, thank you. But here`s the truth. You knew the difference. All throughout time, there have been people who have responded to what millions of people do not have a response to, and they respond in a very different way. And the question is why.

Why did these two girls decide to do, allegedly, what they did? What was going on in their minds, in their hearts -- psychologically. Did they have other problems? Emotional problems, problems in the home. The coming days may well tell.

Nancy next.