Everyone has their breaking point: that one catalyst, that one moment that forces them to make a rash decision in order to break free of their current situation and make a change for the better. These moments can be cathartic, yes, but they can also be explosive.
For one Wisconsin teen, that catalyst had been a long time coming. She had been ready to escape and move on for years and at 17, she was ready to move on with her life and change things. But her abusers weren’t about to let her go without a fight..
Ashlee was just about to turn seventeen. It was a moment she’d been waiting for. It wasn’t just that she would be legally an adult, it was that finally, after a lifetime of abuse at the hands of her parents, she could finally be free. She’d done everything she could to escape in the past, but nothing had seemed to work.
No Say, No Rights
She and her sisters had been at the mercy of her parents for as long as Ashlee could remember. Her mother Jennifer had been with many boyfriends over the years, men who had been less than kind to her. One of them had even gone so far as to sexually assault her at the tender age of nine. She’d called the police, but they never helped…
His Own Demons
Thomas, Ashlee’s stepfather, wasn’t much better than her mother’s assorted paramours. Over the years, he had many prior arrests and convictions including: assault, kidnapping, child enticement, and had been involved in the sexual assault of a child younger than 15. You’d have thought that with that track record, the police would have heeded her words more carefully.
Hurt Them, Hurt Me
Thomas Ayers wasn’t the type of man to hurt her physically of course, Ashlee wasn’t his type. Instead, he would abuse her mother and sisters incessantly as a way to punish her. At one point, he even held a gun to her mother’s head, threatening to kill her unless she continued to behave herself…
He would beat Ashlee’s sisters so badly that their backsides would bleed. He choked them, punched them in the face, and gave one of them a black eye one time. As if that weren’t enough, he once threw their puppy around before, as one of the girls put it, he “shot and killed him, and fed him to a bear.”
It was March 7, 2015, a day after Ashlee’s 17th birthday. She had planned to move out of the house and in with one of her friends, but her parents had other plans. Even though she was all packed up and ready to go, Thomas Ayers did not want to see any of his personal torture toys go…
Thomas and Jennifer had discovered that Ashlee had a 22-year-old boyfriend, and they would be damned if they were going to let him just take their daughter away from them. An argument ensued and it ended with Ashlee in her room and the parents threatening her boyfriend to “stay away from her….we can press charges.” on the young man’s Facebook wall.
Her Only Freedoms
They took away Ashlee’s keys, her cellphone, and forbade her from going out at all: much less moving in with friends. Work and school were the only places that Ashlee felt free but she couldn’t live on just that. She needed to be free, and if she didn’t do something drastic soon, she was going to be imprisoned in their house for good…
Later that night, Ashlee Martinson took her stepfather’s shotgun into her bedroom with her. She was having suicidal thoughts. If she didn’t do it herself now, she was sure that the abuse and psychological torture would eventually wear her down until she did. Then she heard her stepfather’s footprints heading towards her door…
Ashlee knew that if he saw her with his gun, one of his most prized possessions, than no force on God’s green earth would be able to save her. He walked in, rage in his eyes, and saw the gun. Ashlee, reacting only on instinct, pointed the gun at him and pulled the trigger. From that moment, she knew he couldn’t hurt her mother, her sisters, or her, anymore…
Ashlee had endured a lifetime of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, and she had finally had enough. Her mother, hearing the gunshots, came barging into her room with a knife a few minutes later. Jennifer Ayers came at her and Ashlee could do nothing except fight back. She managed to wrestle the knife from her grasp and turn it on her, stabbing Jennifer 30 times in a brutal attempt to save her own life.
After that, Ashlee panicked. She locked her three younger siblings in their bedroom and told them to stay there, that she’d be back. Instead, she called her boyfriend and the two of them went on the run to Indiana. They didn’t stay under the radar long however, and soon enough, the police caught up to them…
She told the police everything, about the abuse and about her desperation.“I’m not a monster. I never meant any of this to happen,” she explained. “I want people to know that I myself was a victim in this. It doesn’t make it right, what happened. But at that moment, I felt like I didn’t have a choice.”
No Other Plea
With no other choice, she plead guilty and was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Still, going to prison would be a cakewalk compared to what she and her sisters had been through at the hands of their parents. For the first time in her life Ashlee Martinson’s life, she was finally free: so to speak…
18-year-old Ashlee Martinson from Piehl, Wisconsin, was now serving a 23 year sentence for the murder of her mother and step-father, and she couldn’t be happier. She says that behind those bars, she feels more freedom than she ever had experienced living under their roof.
Safe at Last
“I’m happy,” she explained in a recent interview. “I know that sounds crazy, because I’m in prison, but I feel like I’m free. I can wake up every day and know that I am safe.” Safety had always been of paramount importance to Ashlee. But today, it’s important that her mental health is cared for as well…
Many professionals who conducted interviews with Ashlee Martinson after the incident portray a very damaged teenage girl. Ashlee spent years under her parents’ abusive thumb and as a result now suffered from severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Still, beyond those mental issues, Ashlee had some other dark secrets.
Before her parents’ untimely demise, Ashlee had an online presence, like most teens, that revealed a much darker side. She went by the pseudonym, or screen name, “Vampchick” on her blog which was titled “Nightmare.” The day before she killed her parents, she posted a disturbing poem which could be construed as a precursor to the deed…
The poem, titled Unworthy, read: “I clean the dry blood off my tools from a previous session, The last body has been disposed of just hours before, yet I have not been satisfied with the pain, agony and blood. I bend down as they start to wake…’Welcome to hell.’ I whisper in her ear. ‘Never again will you see the light of day.’”
Was it Her?
Ashlee Martinson denies that this disturbing poem was even hers at all. Though authorities confirmed last year that the blog was indeed linked to her, there is no proof that the content posted by Vampchick was her original work. But was premeditation in this case the only solution given her situation, or did she have other options?