WAUKESHA, Wis. — One of two Wisconsin girls accused of stabbing a classmate to please the horror character Slender Man should face a lesser charge in juvenile court because she thought she had to kill her friend to protect herself and her family from the creature, her attorney argued Monday.

Each girl faces one count of being a party to first-degree intentional attempted homicide in adult court in connection with the May incident. Their cases have reached the preliminary hearing stage, where a judge decides whether enough evidence exists to order a trial.

Defense attorney Anthony Cotton began the two-day proceeding by declaring that the evidence will show his 12-year-old client should really face a second-degree attempted intentional homicide charge in juvenile court. He argued she believed she had to kill 12-year-old Peyton Leutner because she had a deal with Slender Man that called for her and her co-defendant to kill someone so they could become the creature’s servants. If they didn’t follow through, Slender Man – described in online horror sites as between 6 feet- and 14-feet tall with tendrils sprouting from his back – would attack both girls and their families.

Cotton tried to show the girl believed Slender Man was real, introducing multiple sketches of him from her notebook accompanied with phrases such “can’t run.”

Waukesha Police Detective Shelly Fisher testified that Leutner had recounted how she had wanted to end her friendship with Cotton’s client because the girl had become obsessed with Slender Man and was getting “scarier and scarier and weirder and weirder.”

“It’s absolutely clear (the girl) believes in him,” Cotton told reporters outside court.

However, Waukesha Police Detective Thomas Casey testified that the girl told him that her co-defendant believed Slender Man would kill them and their families if they didn’t go through with the stabbing.

Later, she said she didn’t know why they did what they did.