Ashlee Martinson, a Wisconsin teen who went by “Vampchick” as a horror blogger, was sentenced on Friday to spend the next 23 years in prison for killing her mother and step-father.
People reports that Martinson, 18, appeared at an Oneida County court in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, to hear her fate after pleading guilty to the March 7, 2015, murders of her mother, Jennifer Ayers, 40, and her step-father, Thomas Ayers, 37. The former blogger was convicted of two felony counts of second-degree intentional homicide. The prosecution asked for Martinson to serve 40 years in prison, while her defense lawyers argued for eight years behind bars.
Martinson was ultimately given the 23-year prison, followed by 17 years of supervised probation. The teen, who appeared in court wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, shed years while sitting by her attorney. She held her head down and appeared distraught, with her hands bound in handcuffs.
On March 7 of last year, Martinson was upset after her parents told her she had to stop seeing her boyfriend, Ryan Sisco. Court documents revealed that her parents also took her car keys and phone, which played a part in setting Martinson off. She went to her bedroom and grabbed a fully-loaded shotgun, initially to take her own life.
Ayers entered her room after telling his wife that Martinson was “probably doing something stupid.” Martinson decided to take her stepfather’s life instead of her own. She started firing the gun at her stepfather, wounding him first in the neck. She fired a second shot to his head to make sure “that he was dead and could not hurt her.”
Distraught and scared, Martinson ran to her mother, seeking comfort. Instead of consoling Martinson, her mother began screaming at her and “then armed herself with a knife and approached” her. Martinson overpowered her mother, took the knife from her, and stabbed her more than 30 times “with considerable force,” according to court records.
Martinson locked her two step-sisters and her half-sister in a room afterwards. She left them juice and food before locking the door. She fled the home after the killings, sparking a national manhunt. She was found a few days later in Boone County, Indiana, with her boyfriend.
Both Martinson and Sisco were arrested and booked into the Boone County jail. Sisco, however, wasn’t charged. Investigators determined that Martinson acted alone in the murders.
Defense attorneys argued that Martinson had a troubled childhood, which included mental, physical, and verbal abuse. According to numerous court filings, Martinson and her younger siblings went through abuse from her mother’s previous boyfriends, including a rape that occurred when she was just 9-years-old. Yet, Oneida County Circuit Judge Michael Bloom stated that Martinson’s life was not in danger at the time of the killings, and people, including her, should be strong enough not to commit murder, regardless of the past.
People who lived in the community by Martinson’s family confirmed the abuse. Neighbor Roy Rasmussen disagreed with the 23-year sentence, given the abuse that Martinson endured for years.
“I don’t agree with the lengthy sentence at all. Twenty-three years? That’s a bit much. I don’t condone murder but an adolescent who has been abused for years can only take so much until they strike back.”
Ashlee Martinson must serve her 23-year sentence without the possibility of parole, something that Rasmussen finds heartbreaking.
“What she needs is help to get her back on track. Life is not how it has been handed to her. She had a tough life. It breaks my heart.”
[Photo by AP/Boone County, Ind. Jail]