Appeals court upholds conviction in Ashlee Martinson case

Published: Mar. 4, 2019 at 3:07 PM CST
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The appeals court has sided with the circuit court in its denial of a new trial for Ashlee Martinson.

Martinson was sentenced in June 2016 to 23 years in prison for the murders of Thomas and Jennifer Ayres. Jennifer Ayres, 40 and Thomas Ayres, 37, were found in their home outside of Rhinelander in the Town of Piehl.

In December 2017, Martinson's attorney stated the courts reasoning that Martinson was a “normal 17-year-old” is inaccurate. And asked for a sentence reduction.

Her attorney, Mark Schoenfeldt said Martinson had been physically, mentally and emotionally abused by the adults in her life and wasn't capable of making rational decisions. He said Martinson had reasonable fear of future violence and felt she had no other options.

Court documents state Martinson, fed up with abuse by Thomas Ayres towards her mother, grabbed a gun and intended to kill herself. Thomas Ayres knocked on Martinson's door and was subsequently shot twice resulting in his death. Martinson's attorney writes that she believed her mother would comfort her following the incident, but instead became upset and came at Martinson with a knife. Martinson got the knife away from her mother and stabbed her 30 times.

Then-Attorney General Brad Schimel stated the court acted appropriately during sentencing as text messages show Martinson, one day before killing the Ayres, had wrote she hated her parents and wanted to kill Thomas.

Late last month, the appeals court wrote, "Under the circumstances here, we conclude the circuit court did not erreoneously exercise its

sentencing discretion when it considered that Martinson had a choice whether to kill."