How a teenage girl made her killing fantasy a reality; CRIME; Ashlee Martinson, 17, hid behind the name Vampchick on a blogging site - but she was a cold- Martinson 17 n in real life, d-blooded killer...
The 16-year-old was obsessed with horror and, under her pseudonym Vampchick, wrote dark stories and poems about death for her blog, Nightmare. Her words were fearless but, behind them, Ashlee believed she was living in her very own horror story at home. She had an abusive stepfather and a mum who failed to notice. Days after writing a poem that included the line, 'The sweet horrors of blood that I thirst for...' Ashlee was inspired to take her brutal revenge.
In 2015, Ashlee was living with her three younger stepsisters, aged nine, eight and two, her mum Jennifer, 40, and stepfather Thomas Ayers, in Piehl, Wisconsin. Jennifer had married Thomas a few years earlier and Ashlee hated her new father figure. She'd fallen prey to her mum's bad boyfriend choices in the past. She'd been sexually abused at nine, and burnt with cigarettes - she was even estranged from her own father due to violence.
Thomas, 37, was no better. Ashlee claimed he'd killed animals in front of her to scare her. And he'd make her get up at 4am to do chores and take all the money she earned from her part-time job. Mum Jennifer and the younger siblings had taken the brunt of Thomas' anger too.
He had past convictions for domestic battery and assault. Ashlee wanted to protect her mum, but she was falling apart knowing her mum wasn't defending her against the abuse.
Ashlee's outlet for her troubles was blogging and she was a self-confessed horror fanatic. Her blog promised to 'bring life to the dead and your nightmares'.
On March 6, Ashlee turned 17, but she didn't feel like celebrating. She was dating la abou local lad Ryan Sisco, 22, and confided in him about the problems at home. She'd been woken up by yet another violent argument between her mum and Thomas.
'He's gonna kill her if she doesn't leave soon and I don't want to be around,' she wrote in a text message. Ashlee said she wanted to kill him. 'Just take one of his guns,' she wrote, 'and blow his f***ing brains out.'
The next day, there was more tension at home when Ashlee's mum and stepdad disapproved of Ashlee seeing Ryan. They banned her from talking to him and took away her phone - it was the final straw for the troubled teen.
Ashlee stormed off in a rage but Thomas fetched her back in his truck. Distraught, she grabbed one of the loaded shotguns he used for hunting but didn't have a license for. She shut herself in her bedroom and contemplated taking her own life - then, Thomas started banging on the door.
'She's probably doing something stupid,' he yelled to Jennifer.
Ashlee opened the door. She'd decided it was Thomas who would die, not her. She raised the shotgun and fired a bullet into Thomas's neck then another in his head. Jennifer heard the commotion and raced to the scene.
Realising what she'd done, Ashlee was hysterical and looked to her mum for help - but Jennifer dropped to her knees to try and save her husband. She was screaming at her daughter in disbelief for killing the man she loved.
Ashlee was horrified that her mum was taking Thomas' side yet again.
Her shock quickly turned to anger. Ashlee claimed her mum came at her with a knife, then Ashlee grabbed it off her and furiously stabbed Jennifer more than 30 times.
With her mum and stepdad dead, she took a shower then told her younger siblings they were going to play a game. She used a rope to lock all three in a bedroom with juice and snacks, then fled. She met her boyfriend, who was clueless about what she'd done, and they set off on a road trip to Indiana. When the oldest sibling escaped from the bedroom, she dialled 911. Ashlee was apprehended around 400 miles away. 'I didn't mean to kill her,' she told an officer as she was arrested.
Ryan didn't face any charges.
At first, Ashlee gave an insanity plea but, in March this year, she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder as part of a plea deal. She admitted guilt but denied responsibility.
Experts who interviewed Ashlee after the killing said she had depression and posttraumatic stress after years of abuse and watching her family suffer at the hands of Jennifer's ex boyfriends, including Thomas.
Ashlee said the second shot to Thomas was 'to ensure that he was dead and could not hurt her'. Ashlee alleged she'd grabbed the knife after her mum approached her with it. The court heard she'd used 'considerable force' and she had spoken to her boyfriend about wanting to kill Thomas.
At the sentencing, there were video testimonies about the abuse in Ashlee's home. Ashlee's stepsisters gave a private testimony where they admitted Thomas Ayer had abused them. He'd hit them with a belt and oni hpa them choked the family dog. There was even a suggestion of neglect on Jennifer's part because the older sibling said she often had to care for the younger ones.
In June this year, Ashlee, now 18, was sentenced to 23 years plus 17 years of supervision as part of a plea deal. The judge said he acknowledged the abuse Ashlee had suffered over the years but said she should have found 'the internal strength' not to turn to murder as a solution.
At the time Ashley attacked, she wasn't under threat. The judge said that society couldn't be allowed to accept murder as a justified response to abuse. Ashlee's legal team had wanted eight years so it was a blow. She was emotional at the verdict but declined to make a statement.
The blogger's plight has attracted a fair amount of sympathy but the law was there to remind everyone that Ashlee had a choice. After so long writing about spilling blood - she'd chosen to make it her reality.
Ashlee was emotional in court The house where Ashlee shot her stepdad, then stabbed her mum Ashlee's parents didn't approve of her boyfriend, Ryan, far left
'The sweet horrors of blood that I thirst for...' Ashlee wrote in a text message: 'I'll just take one of his guns... and blow his f***ing brains out' in a text Gun Gun
The victims Mum Jennifer had married abusive Thomas a few years earlier
The murderer Ashlee pleaded insanity when she was arrested for murder Th insani
WORDS: GAIL SHORTLAND.