Waukesha middle school teacher: Morgan Geyser had 'social problems' in the classroom

Published on: 6/17/2015

Morgan Geyser was seen as a kid who loved fantasy.

That is how one of her former middle school teachers viewed her.

'I considered her a quirky kid,' said Diane Giese, who teaches math at the Waukesha middle school.

Giese was one of many witnesses who took the stand on Wednesday during a hearing where Geyser's attorneys are attempting to get the case transferred from the adult system and into the juvenile court system.

Geyser is charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide for stabbing then-12 year-old Payton Leutner 19 times in a wooded area in Waukesha the morning after a birthday party sleepover at her house.

Geyser and her co-defendant, Anissa Weier, told investigators that the two, then both 12 years old, attempted to kill Leutner to gain favor with the fictional character, Slender Man. They believed that Slender Man would do harm to them or their families if they didn't do the character's bidding.

A doctor said Geyser has been diagnosed with schizophrenia but isn't receiving any treatment.

Psychologist Deborah Collins, who has evaluated Geyser multiple times, said on Wednesday that Geyser still believes in fantasy characters and Geyser objects to taking medication.

Collins called it 'rigid and inflexible at this point.'

Giese said when Geyser, now 13, was in her class, she viewed her as 'less mature than many other students.'

She said Geyser was 'quite gifted in math' and was 'a good student' for the most part, but could tell there were issues socially.

'She had social problems in the classroom,' Giese said. 'I think she had trouble fitting in with kids in the classroom.'

Giese said Geyser preferred to work alone and that it became more difficult as the (2013-14) year went on to get her to work with others. The attack on Leutner happened on May 31, 2014. Leutner survived the attack and returned to middle school this past fall.

Giese also said during Wednesday's testimony that students told her Geyser talked about Lord Voldemort, a fictional Harry Potter character, in class.

While another former teacher said she never had any problems with Geyser, Jill Weidenbaum, Geyser's sixth-grade English teacher, said that one time Geyser and Leutner, who were friends, told her Lord Voldemort was chasing after them.

She said she didn't report it because 'it didn't seem serious' and it only happened once.

Multiple officers at the juvenile detention center in West Bend, where Geyser has been housed for much of the last year, all said on Wednesday Geyser has not interacted much with the other children at the facility. The officers also all called her artistic and creative.

One of the officers called Geyser 'socially awkward.'

They added Geyser often eats on the floor under a table in her cell.

The hearing continues on Thursday with both the state and defense teams expected to call one witness each.

Judge Michael Bohren is expected to rule on whether to move the case out of the adult system on Aug. 10.

Bohren will rule on whether to transfer Weier to the juvenile system on that date as well. Her reverse waiver hearing was last month.