Payton Leutner's family released the following statement on the verdict:
"We are disappointed in the jury's decision. The decision allows the assailant to petition the court every six months and request release into the community. Their decision also forces our family to relive this horrific crime every six months wondering if they will be released.
The potential release of an assailant that methodically planned and executed an attack in which our little girl was stabbed 19 times puts the community and our family at risk. It is deeply disappointing.
We would also like to thank the District Attorney and her team for their remarkable work in presenting the case and assisting our family through the process.
The Leutner Family"
Leutner, now 15 years old, is still healing from the attack that happened three years ago. She was stabbed 19 times after two friends lured her into the woods at a park in Waukesha. Prosecutors say Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier told investigators they did it to please the fictional character Slenderman.
Friday night, Weier trembled in court as her verdict was read; a jury deciding she was mentally ill at the time of the attack. She will now spend at least three years in a mental hospital.
Weier's attorney expressed gratitude:
"I'm very thankful to the jurors for taking the time to look closely at what really was happening with my client. I know her family is relieved," said Maura McMahon, Weier's lawyer.
A spokesman for the victim's family says they wanted Weier to be sentenced to prison, and this commitment will allow her to petition the court every six months after three years of treatment."It is difficult. It's difficult for the victim, it's difficult for the victim's family," said Steve Lyons, Leutner family spokesman. "Every six months, they're going to have to go into the court and ask that she not be released." As one defendant is sentenced, another now awaits her trial -- and the Leutner family is looking ahead.
"Whatever is best for Payton is what we do," said Lyons.
Geyser's trial is set to start in October. She has pleaded "not guilty" to first-degree attempted intentional homicide by reason of mental disease.