On the second day of the Anissa Weier trial in the Slenderman stabbing case, a detective, a teacher, and a forensic psychologist took the stand. First detective Shelly Fisher described her interview with the victim, Peyton and evidence that she retrieved from the perpetrators school lockers. Then Dr. Melisaa Westendorf testified about her expert opinion of Anissa’s mental state.
The victim stated that Morgan was the one who stabbed her and that before she plunged the knife into her 19 times, she said “I’m so sorry.” Peyton also said that Anissa was different, meaner, when she was hanging out with Morgan. Det. Fisher also confirmed that there were multiple sketches relating to Slender Man in Anissa’s and Morgan’s school notebooks.
Then Anissa’s fourth and fifth grade teacher took the stand. He said that Anissa was an excellent student but that she struggled socially. He also said that she always followed the rules.
At the end of the trial, Dr. Melissa Westendorf testified that in her opinion, Anissa suffered from ‘shared psychotic disorder’ when she was with Morgan. A rare condition also known as ‘folie a deux’ (madness shared by two people.) As a result, she stated that Anissa would not be competent to appreciate the wrongfulness of her actions and conform to the law.
Dr. Westendorf, who holds a law degree as well as a PhD in psychology, gave a compelling testimony. She admits that this condition of shared psychosis is not common and there are only a few case studies to refer to. In this disorder, two people share the same delusion. One person is usually more dominant and influences the other person to share their delusions. Dr. Westendorf believes that Morgan was the more dominant person and she strongly influenced Anissa.
She explained that the violent episode was a perfect storm of factors including:
- the fact that they were only 12-years-old,
- were influenced by a website that appeared authentic (similar to fake news)
- Anissa had just started a new school and had no friends, so she clung to Morgan
- Morgan had previous psychotic behavior