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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

New Details on Middle School Stabbing

Aired June 4, 2014 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight breaking news, new and dark details from inside the families of those 12-year-old girls, accused of stabbing their dear friend 19 times. How much did their families know about the girls` disturbing fascination with the fictional child killer known as Slender Man?

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

Just released tonight, mug shots of the two young suspects, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier. Look at these young faces. They should be the faces of innocence. Instead they have been charged as adults with attempted murder. If convicted, these girls could end up in prison until they`re almost 80 years old.

But cops say these middle-schoolers, the two of them confessed. Yes, they confessed to an elaborate plot to stab their friend to death in the woods.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These two 12-year-old girls plotted to kill one of their best friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They lured the victim into the woods.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The details play out like the plot of a horror film.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stabbed her 19 times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "I thought, `Dear God, this was really happening`."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dark connection to the Internet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a very disturbing investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fascination with Slender Man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They thought he was real, and they could only meet him if they physically killed someone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I recognize the young age, but it`s still unbelievable.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The girls told cops that the online character Slender Man was the inspiration behind the stabbing.

Police say the suspects lured the victim, who`s also just 12 years old, into the woods. They stabbed her, they say, 19 times. These two girls. Nearly killing the other child. The victim survived by crawling out of the woods, only to be discovered by a guy riding his bike.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came upon a 12-year-old female. She appears to be stabbed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She appeared to be what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stabbed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stabbed?

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she awake?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s awake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she breathing?

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Suspect Anissa Weier`s older brother is speaking out tonight, suggesting his seemingly sweet little sis may have lost herself in these online horror fantasies and thought they were actually real. Anissa`s brother says she loved to watch Slender Man videos like this one from YouTube.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each culture or area that encountered this being had its own name for it: the operator, the tall man, the master. Today it is most commonly known as Slender Man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now take a look at the suspect`s older brother. He`s reportedly in a traveling variety show, which may explain the extreme makeup in some of the photos.

The other suspect, Morgan Geyser, is wearing skull shirts in a slew of online photos. You have to -- you have to look closely, but yes, there you see the skeleton and there you see the skull. Some are wondering if her entire family is fascinated with the dark side.

Her father posted a napkin drawing that Morgan did of Slender Man on Instagram, seemingly praising his daughter`s artwork. Why?

Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. What do you think motivated this horror? 1- 877-586-7297. Is it all just coincidence that these girls are surrounded by dark imagery and horror stories?

First, we`re going out to Miguel Marquez, CNN correspondent who`s on the ground in Wisconsin where this is all happening.

And you are right there with a community in shock. What have you learned, Miguel?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is definitely suburbia in shock, the little memorial or tribute to that young woman who is getting better, we understand. She`s able to talk. She`s able to walk now.

This certainly has sent a shock through this suburban neighborhood, though.

We do know that at the school where these three young women went, that some parents have kept their kids home from school until things settle down. Also, some kids are asking for counseling while they are at the school.

We also have learned that the legal side of this is moving forward. The two young women who are accused will now face a hearing next Wednesday. At that point their defense may step in, ask for a competency hearing. If that happens, it would slow things down considerably. They would have to assess whether or not there is something deeper, darker going on in the psychology of these two young women.

But how it is, as you pointed out, they went from the fantasy of this fictional character to the reality of what they did is shocking to everybody here, around the country and even around the world -- Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s unbelievable. And looking at these two supposedly, or should be, innocent faces. And you see these children -- they are children -- and they are accused of the most heinous crime imaginable.

Now, the suspects told cops that, after the stabbing, they planned -- get this -- to walk to a national forest in northern Wisconsin. That`s where they believed Slender Man`s mansion was. Remember, he`s a fictional character.

Now, the crime scene is more than 200 miles from the area that they planned to hike to. Were they going to hitchhike there or fly there? The girls told police they packed a backpack for their trip. And that backpack contained clothes, water, granola bars. They also packed family photos so that they`d remember what their family looked like after they left for Slender Man mansion. Oh, my gosh.

Straight out to the Lion`s Den. The line between fantasy and reality completely blurred. So I want to start with, Eboni K. Williams, attorney out of L.A. Could this be ideal fodder for an insanity defense? Because court observers say, hey, that`s likely, since they apparently confessed to cops that they did this. The insanity defense is what they`re going to have to fall back on.

EBONI K. WILLIAMS, ATTORNEY: Certainly, Jane. This is very ripe for an insanity defense plea. It`s going to be challenging for the defense lawyers to have to pull that off, because they`re going to have to prove that these 12-year-old girls did not form the criminal content -- intent required to be guilty of this crime. And that`s hard to do. They`ve got to show that they did not know right from wrong. That`s going to be difficult to do.

BRIAN SILBER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know what? Stop right there. Stop right there, hold on a second. That is not going to be hard to do, OK? We are talking about babies.

WILLIAMS: Yes, it will be.

SILBER: We`re talking about a system that is not equipped to deal with a case of this type, all right? This has never been conceived, where we have a victim who`s been stabbed multiple times and children that believe they`re chasing the boogeyman. Let`s get real here.

WILLIAMS: But that`s not necessarily...

SILBER: This is absolutely a mental health case.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s see our panel. One at a time.

GABE CRENSHAW, PSYCHOLOGIST: But where`s the parents in all of this? Where are the parents in all of this?

SILBER: These are babies. They are babies.

WILLIAMS: Yes, but just because they`re babies does not mean that...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: Just because they are babies...

SILBER: If an adult male had sex with them, we would say they don`t have the consent of mind to engage in that act because of their age.

CRENSHAW: True. Yes.

SILBER: You can`t say the system says on the one side they don`t have mental capacity when they`re going to be a victim, but on the other side, they do have mental capacity when we`re going to prosecute them and send them away for the rest of their lives.

WILLIAMS: Sure you can. Sure you can.

SILBER: The bottom line is our system is not equipped to deal with this case.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. You`ve had your say, Brian. Let`s go back to Eboni for your wrap-up.

WILLIAMS: Yes, you can absolutely say that just because someone is 12 years old, Jane, that does not defeat the fact that they have the mental capacity. You have to look at their actions. This is a case-by-case scenario. What these young girls did was so cruel.

SILBER: That`s not what the law says.

CRENSHAW: Symptomologically there are issues here.

WILLIAMS: The law says that there is discretion by the judge to determine if these young girls have the mental capacity.

SILBER: Really? Can you cite to that law? That doesn`t exist.

WILLIAMS: It so does.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Please, one at a time.

WILLIAMS: It certainly does.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.

WILLIAMS: ... law. The judge has discretion to decided that. And that`s why they`re being tried as adults. Of course he does.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s talk about what or not they should be tried as adults.

Exhibit A, Morgan Geyser told cops, "It was weird. I didn`t feel any remorse." Certainly chilling words from a girl who cops say plotted this attack for months.

Now, the criminal complaint said that first, the suspects planned to duct tape the victim`s mouth as she slept and stab her in the neck. Their next plan was to kill her in a park bathroom. OK? Plan No. 2. And we`re going to move on to plan No. 2. And guess what? They wanted to stab her in the park bathroom, because there was a drain in the public bathroom where the blood could wash away.

Now police say they settled on plan No. 3, luring the girl into the woods to supposedly play hide and seek and then ambush her and stab her 19 times with the knife.

So let`s talk about whether or not they should be charged as adults. They planned this for months. If, in fact, they are charged as adults, OK, they get 65 years if convicted, which means they`d be almost 80 years old when they get out.

But if they go back to juvie court --and the D.A. said he fully expects the defense attorneys to try to get them bounced back to juvie court -- they can only be held until they`re 25, in other words, for just 13 years. So we`re talking 65 years versus 13 years.

What do you think? And I`ll throw it out to Gabe Crenshaw, because you`re a psychologist. Should they be charged as adults or go to juvie?

CRENSHAW: You know what? I`m sort of leaning toward the adult thing right now, only because I`m concerned about anti-social personality disorder. We can cannot diagnose that until you`re 18 years old. However, at 12 years old, with the heinous crimes that they have done, what I don`t want to see happen is that we go, "Poor kids, poor kids," although I do believe that.

But you know what? There are some kids that will kill you and not think twice about it. They have no conscience. And what we usually see, oftentimes, before the anti-social personality disorder is conduct disorder. Have they killed anything else? What have they been doing around the house, around the neighborhood, at school? Do they taunt? Do they kill animals? Do they destroy property?

But they`re plotting like a cold-blooded killer. It makes my blood run cold to just think about it. But it can happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to say the phone lines are lighting up again on this. People all across the country are obsessed, because they can`t comprehend...

CRENSHAW: I know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... how these two seemingly innocents did this. Tressa, Cali -- I think we`ve got Tressa...

CALLER: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... California. What have you got to say? Tressa, California?

CALLER: My son just got out of the hospital. He was tooken [SIC] in not this Friday but last Friday, because he said he`s seeing Slender Man at the end of our road in the woods. And he blacked out, and then he -- I called the cops, and we had him tooken [SIC] to the hospital. And he just got out. And this is the first that we heard about it. It`s freaking me out real bad.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s all over the Internet. Brett Larson, CNN technology analyst, this is a scary image. Look at this image of this tall Slender Man, and he kills particularly children, and there`s various images all over the Internet. What the hell is going on here? We just heard another mother saying that her kid thinks that Slender Man is real.

BRETT LARSON, CNN TECHNOLOGY ANALYST: Exactly. You know, Jane, this brings up a lot -- this should be, first of all, a wakeup call to parents. And great that you are taking your kid to the hospital and trying to intervene here.

You know, the Internet is a great place. You can go on, you can get information about everything in the world. The problem is, in that everything in the world, is this stuff. This Slender Man stuff, these fictional characters, these people who go out and make these silly movies about the Slender Man attacks, which are practically low-budget horror films on YouTube that your 12-year-old is watching.

And if you`re not standing over their shoulder, if you don`t have software on your computer, or parental protection on your computer to keep your kids from finding this stuff, this is the kind of stuff they`re going to find.

It`s not like these girls watched a bunch of Disney films and decided to go out and do this. They watched this crazy stuff that we, as adults, can sit down and watch and go, "That`s a crappy low-budget horror film. You know, I`ll go watch, you know, a real scary movie in the theater." But kids don`t that have that mental capacity, which is why you need to watch what your kids are doing online and intervene.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Miguel Marquez, I want to go back to Miguel Marquez, our correspondent in Wisconsin.

We talked to an anonymous mom whose child attends the same class as one of the suspects yesterday. She said all they learn is on iPads. And that we`ve heard reports independently that some of the kids managed to get around the firewalls and get to sites that they shouldn`t. I don`t know if that`s true. I`m not there. The school is invited on any time. But kids have been known to be good at that.

MARQUEZ: Look, this is a very good school system. They have iPads. It puts the school in a horrible position. You want your kid to have all the best technology and all the best tools in order to learn. An iPad is part of that learning process. Whether or not kids can access it on that is another question.

The school has actually now blocked the creepypasta website from its iPads and all of its computers. It looks other websites and other material, as well. But they can`t block everything.

The other thing that -- we talked to kids in the neighborhood. Every single kid in this neighborhood knows about Slender Man and all these other characters. The parents really didn`t know much about it. The kids are also not watching it necessarily on their iPads from school and the computers at school. They`re watching it on their parents` iPhones whenever they get them. So you can access this stuff anywhere that they choose.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s tragic, because I`ve always advocated give every kid in America an iPad and democratize education. But then you see the dark side of it. Even though I think it`s incredible for every kid to have an iPad.

Now, we are so far done from this, we have on the other side an anonymous woman who -- she doesn`t want to give her name, but she attended this very same school also. We`re going to talk to her, and she`s got fascinating insights about what might be going on here.

Also, check out our Facebook page, Facebook.com/JaneVelezMitchellHLN, for exclusive content you can only find there. And while you`re there, please "like" the page for me, all right?

More on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to the criminal complaint, Morgan Geyser came up with the idea of the murder and enlisted her friend, Anissa Weier, to help her. Both girls were fans of horror websites where they say they were introduced to a fictional character called Slender Man. They thought he was real and could only meet him if they physically killed someone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right after the stabbing, before the suspects were arrested, suspect Anissa Weier`s older brother talked very briefly to a reporter. Listen carefully.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM WEIER, BROTHER OF ANISSA WEIER: My younger sister, Morgan, and (NAME REDACTED) were all going to go down to David`s Park just down the road.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Here`s a bizarre photo of Anissa Weier`s brother. He reportedly is a makeup artist with a traveling show that is reportedly called Dead Man`s Carnival that could explain his bizarre, macabre makeup. But it`s consistent with some other photos of his family.

And, you know, you`ve got to wonder. There`s -- there`s that, and then there`s also Morgan and Morgan -- the other suspect. Let me go back to William here.

William Weier told "The Daily Mail" that his little sister has a couple of weird interests. She loves creepypasta. She loves the Slender Man stories, just anything a bit creepy, "but I don`t see why it changed from dream to reality. I wish she had enough common sense to tell the difference between what`s real and what isn`t."

Is it common sense she needs or just maturity? She is an adult. She`s charged as an adult. But she`s not much older than kids who still believe in Santa Claus.

So Elizabeth Espinosa, CNN Espanol anchor, you`ve been following this story. That`s the brother essentially saying, "Hey, my kid sis is a normal kid, except for this one little thing. She likes these scary stories."

ELIZABETH ESPINOSA, CNN ESPANOL ANCHOR: Well, and there you go. You look at the picture of the brother, and again, I`m glad you brought that up. Exactly. These are two 12-year-olds. I don`t condone what they did. Clearly, there`s a problem here. But honestly, this goes back to the home. I don`t want to blame you, Mom and Dad, but I`ve got to keep it real here. That parents, if you have a 12-year-old daughter, you need to know...

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time, please.

ESPINOSA: Let me finish.

SILBER: Mom and dad have nothing to do with this. This is a subject of mental health. Come on.

ESPINOSA: I understand the mental health argument, but listen, here in Southern California, we just had the Isla Vista shooting spree. And those parents were aware that their son, Elliott Rodger, had a problem. And those parents, at age 7, were on top of it, taking him to therapists, doing everything they could, because they were on top of it.

How is it that these parents had no idea? Clearly they`re surprised and stunned.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to get some more information here, and then we`re going to open it up to our panel. The father of Morgan Geyser, one of the suspects, left court sobbing uncontrollably. This has to be his worst nightmare, to see his daughter that he was so proud of -- and there he is, leaving in tears -- shackled and charged as an adult with attempted murder.

Now, some people are wondering if he should have spotted warning signs. Why? Well, he reportedly posted this photo on Instagram of a drawing of Slender Man, this grotesque character, that his daughter made on a napkin a couple of months ago when the family was out to dinner. And he seems to praise her for it, saying, "Only Mogo" -- which is short for Morgan -- "draws Slender Man on a napkin in crayon when we`re out for dinner."

So what that means, Gabe Crenshaw, is that he knew about Slender Man. He knew about his daughter`s fascination with the ghoulish character. Why is he seemingly proud of her for drawing a fictional character that murders?

And by the way, we`ve reached out to him without success. He`s invited on any time. Go ahead.

CRENSHAW: Yes. See, I think that`s -- Jane, that`s a large part of the problem. I think parents sometimes are sort of in a fantasy land about the appropriateness of certain games, of certain video games, et cetera.

Now, physiologically, this is the issue with these children. Their brains are still underdeveloped. They do not have full capacity for good judgment. It`s in the prefrontal cortex here, this forehead area of our brain. It is still undeveloped when you`re 12 years old, 13 years old. And it causes impulsivity, bad decision making, et cetera. Left unchecked -- that`s without a parent to guide you -- you could end up with what we`re seeing right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Brian Silber, you`ve been rolling your eyes during what I thought was a very intelligent commentary by Dr. Crenshaw.

SILBER: Well, you know, I partly agree and disagree. You know, on the one hand, it absolutely -- he`s correct. Children who are 12, they`re not physically developed. You know, the brain, like any other organ, grows and develops over time.

Except here`s the difference. When you have an immature and undeveloped brain, it affects how you function, how you think, how you perceive reality, how you control your impulses, how you react to stimulus. All those things.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sounds like you`re agreeing with him.

SILBER: To blame it solely on the parents -- in part and not in part -- to solely put this on the parents, I think, is absolutely misplaced. Clearly, a child who`s 12, who goes to the length of stabbing another human being, even though there are all these issues, that is clearly extremely aberrational behavior.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on a second. Eboni. Eboni`s rebuttal.

SILBER: ... the norm, and there`s absolutely a diagnosis.

WILLIAMS: Here`s the thing. There`s no bright-line rule, though. There is no bright-line rule that says, when someone can develop the criminal intent required. There`s no bright-line rule. That`s a case-by- case basis.

Also, there`s an associate at the National Association of Mental Health and Juvenile Justice that talks about how young kids like this, 12 years old, operate in isolation. So yes, the parents, but we need to look at the peer groups of these middle-school-age kids, because that`s a huge impact, and that`s a huge factor. Who are these kids surrounded by and how...

CRENSHAW: Cult-like activity.

WILLIAMS: Absolutely -- and how they egg each other on. In the complaint, one of the girls is telling the other girl, "Go crazy on her." She`s encouraging this type of foul, ridiculous behavior amongst their peer group.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me -- let me jump in here and go to an anonymous guest who attended the same middle school as the defendants.

We want to thank you for your patience. Calling out of Wisconsin. Is there something about this school? It sounds great, you know, iPads for everyone. I`ve always advocated that. Is there something about this school that you think is off?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, a little bit. A couple of years ago, they switched from just 7th and 8th grade to grades six through eight. This is the particular middle school that the girls attend now, somewhere around a 600-student population to over 900 students in a school that already used every classroom.

And even when I went there, supervision was really lax, because there was a lot of destructive students that need to be refocused. And obviously, adding those other sixth graders and keeping a similar amount of teachers, obviously that creates another situation that even more students need to be refocused and even more students need to call attention to themselves.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what you`re saying is kids who have troubles can get lost in the shuffle if they`re in extremely large classrooms and they can`t get the individual attention they need, which is why so many people, people who are absolutely passionate about education, have pushed for smaller class size so that they can catch problems as they arise.

Now stay right there. We`re going to take a short break, but this is a very, very scary story. We want to show you the creepy Slender Man clip. Watch it, and we`ll debate it on the other side. Phone lines lighting up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The young suspects explained their very elaborate plan to police, which was an attempt to prove their dedication to this ghoulish boogeyman who exists online called Slender Man. They seemed to believe that this online character was real.

If you take a look at this entire triangle, it explains. OK. It ruled over -- there`s the top of the triangle, Slender Man, and then below him on the killers. And then at the bottom are the proxies. Now they told police in order for them to become proxies, they had to carry out a murder.

Now Anonymous, our guest who wants to remain anonymous, you attended the same middle school as the defendants. You`re saying that something like this, which they had been plotting for months, might go unnoticed because you`re staying that there`s just too many kids at the school. And they could get into some kind of fantasy world that no one would pick up, which they might otherwise pick up if there were, let`s say, ten kids in the class.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, absolutely. Kids aren`t calling attention to themselves, they`re not helped. The school`s kind of -- the kids are kind of like self-watering plants a little bit. You know, those planters where you can water them, and they can go several weeks without watering. It`s kind of like what they`re doing with the teachers they`re doing with the students. With the iPad, like the kids aren`t really being paying attention -- aren`t really paid much attention to. Unless they`re actually, like, calling negative attention to themselves, or they`re calling attention to themselves academically.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first of all, I want to say, you know, we want to invite the school on any time. And frankly, I`ve always regarded schools with iPads as the best of the best and have even advocated that every kid, to democratize education so some kids don`t have a great access to information and others have little, I`ve always advocated giving every kid in America an iPad. So I don`t want to castigate this school. We`d love to hear from them.

But the point Brett Larson, CNN technology analyst, seems to be that here you have 12-year-olds, we know that their relationships become very intense as they hit puberty, and they`re very wrapped up together in this online fantasy. And it seems to be what they`re doing is they`re building a real world on top of the fantasy world. So they create a backpack with all sorts of stuff they`re going to take to Slenderman`s mansion. And then they placed that mansion in a real national park. And they say they`re going to hitch hike.

So at a certain point you get enough real stuff around the fantasy and it may feel real.

BRETT LARSON, CNN TECHNOLOGY ANALYST: Right, it does. And you know, it`s a difficult time. It`s a transitional time for teenagers when they`re going from the preteen to the teenaged years especially in a school environment.

I agree with you, Jane, iPads in the classroom are fantastic educational tools. Computers in the classroom are fantastic educational tools. It is a level playing field when everyone has access to information. But it does, in fact, require oversight from adults.

And I understand in these situation where is the classrooms are overcrowded, that not every child can be paid attention to. But these things that we have that we can surf the web with, and we can get all this information with, they keep track of everywhere we go. There should be, at the end of the day -- there should be someone --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you raise a very important point -- let me jump in.

LARSON: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brian Silber, criminal defense attorney, the cops are going to go through their iPads, they`re going to go through their computers. They`re going to go through whatever cell phones they have access to and they`re going to find out exactly what kind of sites they`re visiting.

And by the way, CreepyPasta Wiki says, "Hey we`re a creative site. We post short stories that happen to have a horror theme. We don`t advocate murder, don`t blame us." But continue on.

BRIAN SILBER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, Jane, when I grew up we were watching "Poltergeist", "Carrie" --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, no. I want to ask about the investigation, what are cops going to do to see exactly what was the road map in their brains as they surfed the Internet.

SILBER: Well, absolutely forensic, electronic and digital evidence will play a very important role, especially with today`s youth that are constantly on Twitter, constantly online, chatting with every three seconds. And finding out the web of who they were talking to, what they were looking at is going to give investigators a very good insight into what they were thinking.

And what they were thinking is going to be the essence of this case because it`s going to go to the heart of the mental health issue, it`s going to go to the heart of what they understood and whether or not they knew what they were actions were at the time they did that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, now, at the heart of this case, this Web site CreepyPasta. We on the other side are going to talk live to a CreepyPasta fan who is going to tell us what this whole Web site is all about. Remember, this was not a heat of passion crime. These girls confessed that they spent months planning to stab their friend. We`ll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would whisper about the plan to kill PL on the bus. Discussed but whispered about killing PL because didn`t want anybody 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 Nicolet National Park.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is 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 suspect`s fascination with Slenderman.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One of the suspects Morgan Geyser allegedly told police she did not feel any remorse and that her goal was to kill her friend. Remember these are 12-year-olds we`re talking about. But family and friends said they never thought Morgan would hurt anyone. Listen to one of Morgan`s babysitters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have seen a lot of stuff on Facebook, and my friends were like, oh, my god, this is crazy like 12-year-olds.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Take a look at these photos of Morgan from her dad`s Instagram site. She`s smiling and happy. Looks like an average 12-year- old. But if you look carefully you see this sort of fascination with skulls and skeletons, her T-shirts have skeletons and skulls on them. That`s a little dark for a 12-year-old.

I want to go back to the "Lion`s Den" and our anonymous guest, who attended the same middle school as the defendants, not at the same time.

Let me ask you this, you have some information about the victim here, the 12-year-old that cops say they tried to kill stabbing 19 times. Tell us.

ANONYMOUS, ATTENDED SAME MIDDLE SCHOOL AS SUSPECTS: Well, I didn`t really -- I didn`t know her very well. I live in the same neighborhood about three blocks away, I didn`t know her personally. But I know she attended the same elementary school as one of the defendants, Morgan Geyser, all the way through from kindergarten.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So had she grown up with these girls or did she move to the area recently, the victim?

ANONYMOUS: Oh no, no. She grew up with these girls.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The victim?

ANONYMOUS: Yes. If you look at their second grade yearbooks, their pictures are right next to each other, hers and Morgan`s.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh my gosh. Take a look, this is a picture of Morgan, one of the suspects when she was younger, but it`s incomprehensible, you look at these little girls -- right, and you think this girl is now charged with first-degree attempted murder and could be behind bars until she`s 80 years old, if they convict her in an adult court.

Let me go back to Gabe Crenshaw, psychologist, when you`re 12, your relationships are super intense. Could this be more about this triangle? I remember studying game theory in college, and they said three is a very unstable number, because you have the most powerful and then the second most powerful and then the least powerful and you`re always flip-flopping with the least powerful hooking up with the second most powerful to overturn the most popular. And so there`s a constant rotation of alliances that can create a very unstable situation. Could this be that kind of triangulation?

GABE CRENSHAW, PSYCHOLOGIST: Jane it could be. Any sort of triangulation, that sort of relationship that`s going on, you know, a balance for power, et cetera, but what you are describing, and I have thought about this, some might not agree with me but this wreaks of some cultish-like activity.

Think about it, the girls are becoming isolated. There is this charismatic character, and they seem to be drawn to this character. Now there are adults that find themselves tied up into cult activity. This could be heaven`s gate. They`re going somewhere looking for (inaudible), looking for this character that`s going to set them free, give them life.

I saw -- I went online and I saw the Slenderman. And you know, there`s a thing -- there`s one directive where he says, Slenderman has to put the gun in their mouth and then they pull the trigger. I mean these are serious images and directives which is what happens in cults. And so weak-minded people --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in and say we want to go -- we`ve got somebody on the line now, Emily, a 12-year-old girl who got permission from her parents to talk about the site and Slenderman. We`re talking about CreepyPasta Wiki. Again they this is a creative site, they don`t condone murder or violence.

But Emily, thanks for joining. You`re 12 years old and you`re the same age as the two young suspects and the victim. And you have something in common with them, the only thing is you happen to have knowledge of this site that you have visited, I understand? Can you tell us about it?

EMILY: Yes, I am a 12-year-old girl. I`m the same age of both of the suspects. And I read CreepyPasta sometimes when I`m really bored and I read other stories like it and I have never once ever thought about killing or ending anybody`s life.

And I don`t think it`s ever influenced me in a bad way, ever. If anything it`s made me a better writer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, why do you think these two girls apparently started to believe that this character was real to the point that they had a backpack and they were going to try to go visit his mansion, which they believe was in a national park?

EMILY: That`s truly crazy to me because I just -- I don`t get it. I mean I have even played the game there`s a video gamed called Thunder, and it`s very scary, but it`s fun. Like I have -- this horrifies me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Does Slender say to become a proxy, you have to kill someone in this fictional world? Because that`s what we have been led to believe, that there`s some -- like if you want to get in his orbit, if you want to be buddies with Slenderman, you got to do something really bad?

EMILY: I read something about that on one of those stories, but I think it was a few months back. I don`t think I have ever really -- I don`t know. It`s just -- this just horrifies me completely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you going to still read and watch Slender videos or are you going to say, no, I`m done with this?

EMILY: No, I`m still going to read and watch. Because it still entertains me, but I don`t think it will ever affect me to where I want to kill my best friend.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want you to stand by, Emily, I want to go to a very special guest Marc Lamont Hill who is joining us to talk about this. Marc, when I was growing up, I read Nancy Drew mystery stories. It seems like we`re existing in a completely different world today where kids have access to really dark material. Some like Emily are well balanced and can handle it but others, they can`t.

MARC LAMONT HILL, SOCIAL COMMENTATOR: Well, certainly some kids can`t handle. And I think we have to look at mental illness as much as we have to do popular culture because 99 percent of kids who engage this material don`t turn out this way. It`s similar to the gangsta rap arguments of the 90s -- would this make people violent or does this merely reflect violence -- similar thing.

Also in the 80s and the 90s, people were playing with Ouija boards. We began to see the Dungeons and Dragons crews in the 90s and 2000s. You know these have been a cult-related pop culture stuff for a long time.

And again most people don`t do this. I think we have to be responsible with the material that we allow kids to access to. We also have to ask different questions about who these kids were, what their motivations were, and what in their brains was not normal, you know, for them to make these types of decisions.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You raise very important questions. On the other side of the break, we`re going to ask if they are mentally ill, how did two mentally ill kids find each other?

Stay right there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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: Yes.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she awake?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s awake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she breathing?

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought "Dear God, this was really happening. Needed to talk to Geyser and told Geyser she couldn`t do it. I started walking away from Geyser and told Geyser -- go ballistic, go crazy. Geyser was counting in her head when Geyser was stabbing PL. And Geyser believes she stabbed PL 17 times."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: These two 12-year-old suspects are tonight being held in a secure juvenile facility. A week from today, there will be a hearing and the attorney for the girl with the long hair, Morgan Geyser says that he will ask for a mental health evaluation as soon as possible. And he says, "In all my years experience interacting with thousands of clients, I believe she has those needs."

So Elizabeth Espinosa, CNN Espanol anchor, It seems like they`re headed toward a possible insanity defense and they`re going to seek a competency evaluation.

ELIZABETH ESPINOSA, CNN ESPANOL ANCHOR: You know -- and listen, for the sake of this kid absolutely they should do that, because clearly there`s something wrong with her -- very, very wrong. But I think, you know, what you talked about earlier as well, the issue of whether or not she should be tried as an adult or as a juvenile.

I think the biggest question here will become and based on that competency hearing -- the mental competency hearing, whether or not this young lady actually has a serious mental illness that caused her to be violent or she`s just an evil person at heart. Because if she is a person that just is evil and really sound and she did say she had no remorse and had received pleasure from stabbing this kid -- I think then you really do want to lock -- you want to lock her away for 65 years if not more.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she did -- and she did the majority of this stabbing. According to the criminal complaint, the other girl anyway claims that the one with the long blond hair did the majority of the stabbing.

So Brian Silber, let me ask you this, is it possible that, well, they would be tried separately, and that one girl`s going to use one defense like the insanity defense, and the other might say well, I was manipulated by the other girl who`s more dominant and I just fell under her spell and that`s why I got involved with this?

CRENSHAW: There`s a name for that.

SILBER: Well Jane, you raise two distinct issues. Number one they have to be individually evaluated to see what their individual problems are. You know, just because they did this crime together and they`re young doesn`t mean they suffer from the same thing, if anything at all. That`s number one.

Number two, when you talk about co-defendants in a courtroom, it might be advantageous for people to share a common defense, but then there are other times when they point the finger at each other. Just because one person says that the other did the stabbing doesn`t mean that`s true. And the other person might blame the other one for doing the stabbing.

So there`s a lot of questions that go back and forth. And it`s yet to be seen. This is a developing situation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right we`ve got to take a brief break. On the other side we`re going to talk to Dr. Gabe about what that syndrome is when one kid influences the other. And we`re also going to talk to Marc Lamont Hill.

Stay right there. It`s unbelievable, isn`t it?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Social commentator Marc Lamont Hill could this be the start of a ghoulish circus where these girls are put on trial and they each point the finger and blame the other?

HILL: I fully expect -- I expect one of two things. Either they play the complete "pop culture made me do it", you know "the evil Internet made me do it" and both of them play victim or they point the finger at each other. But I don`t think the jury will find that compelling. A crime this gruesome they can`t let people off the hook.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just got word, wonderful news, that the victim has just been upgraded to fair condition. And she is conscious.

HILL: Awesome.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that is just wonderful. Dr. Gabe we only have a couple of seconds. You said that there`s a syndrome when one child influences the other.

CRENSHAW: Yes, we call it a (inaudible) -- a shared psychotic disorder. It`s a delusional belief transmitted from one person to the other, and bam, you can end up with what we`ve got right now with the girls.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think this is fascinating. And you wanted to get in Eboni Williams that a competency hearing is different than pleading insanity. If you fail a competency hearing you don`t even go to trial. You end up at a facility until you`re competent, right?

EBONI WILLIAMS, ATTORNEY: That`s correct, Jane, yes. The competency hearing, which will be the first hurdle that the defense attorneys will try to make for the prosecutors will determine can these girls participate in their own defense? Do they know what a lawyer is? Do they know what a judge is? Do they understand what prison is?

But an insanity defense, that goes to the spirit and facts of this case. Those are two separate things and they`ll be two different hurdles for the defense lawyers in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, this story has shaken everyone in this country to their core. And it`s caused a lot of soul searching. Parents, it`s great for your kids to have iPads, but they also have to be monitored carefully. So they don`t go in to very dark, deep material.

Nancy Grace has a whole lot more on this story. Stay right there. She is up next.

END