RHINELANDER - Ashlee Martinson will stay in prison for two more decades after a court ruling in Rhinelander on Wednesday.
Martinson shot her stepfather and stabbed her mother to death in Oneida County two years ago, when she was 17.
On Wednesday, Martinson's lawyer, Mark Schoenfeldt, tried to get her 23-year prison sentence reduced through a motion called post-conviction relief. Schoenfeldt argued Judge Michael Bloom made an error in sentencing Martinson. Bloom said Martinson had a choice of whether to kill her parents.
"When this fateful day occurred, her choice was completely nullified by the fact that she didn't have any control," Schoenfeldt said.
Schoenfeldt alluded to Martinson's brutal home life. He said prolonged abuse and distress caused her to lose control in the moment.
"This was not a normal 17-year-old that came before the court," he argued. "Ms. Martinson's life had been fraught with physical, sexual, mental, emotional distress. Her life was basically a horror story."
Bloom cited case law, state statute, and legal opinions in denying the motion to reduce Martinson's sentence.
"The Court did not abuse its discretion [in the sentencing] and the defendant's motion, that I find as such, is denied," he said.
Wednesday's hearing was just the first stop in the appeals process for Martinson.
"I would anticipate that this gets appealed to the next level," said Oneida County District Attorney Michael Schiek. "This is really kind of the stepping stone to make that happen."
Schoenfeldt confirmed he planned to argue the case to the Court of Appeals, mentioning he might later take it to the state Supreme Court if needed. Schoenfeldt believes a prison sentence closer to eight years, with Martinson's trial lawyers recommended, would be more appropriate.
"That's the range that I thought it should have been in," he said.
Martinson listened to Wednesday's hearing via phone from Taycheedah Correctional Center in Fond du Lac, the prison where she lives. Barring a successful appeal, she will be in prison until age 40 and on extended supervision until age 57.
RHINELANDER - Nineteen months ago, 10 police agencies surrounded the Tripoli home of Kenneth Welsh.
Police say Welsh caused a three-hour standoff, threatened to blow up his house, and threatened to kill his wife.
Later in court, he was convicted of two felonies and sentenced to three years in prison by Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom.
But now, those convictions and prison sentence have been erased. This month, while in prison, Welsh argued he didn't fully understand all the elements of one of the crimes to which he pleaded no contest, first-degree recklessly endangering safety. Welsh's motion put some of the blame on his defense attorney, Rod Streicher.
RHINELANDER - This holiday season, you might want to tell your child to hug family members at holiday gatherings.
The Girls Scouts of the USA hopes you won't. The organization is saying daughters don't owe anyone physical affection, and that the expectation of hugs and kisses could have bad aftereffects later in life.
"I think for some people, it is a new concept," said Melissa K., the domestic violence coordinator at Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual assault, which is based in Rhinelander.
In a post, the Girl Scouts of the USA told parents their daughters don't "owe anyone a hug. Not even at the holidays."
RHINELANDER - A number of Rhinelander police and firefighters will work a weekend morning shift in December and won't get paid for it. It's an extra task they're happy to help with.
The Rhinelander Police Department's Shop With a Cop program returns December 16. Police and firefighters take 20 third grade students from Crescent, Pelican, Zion, and Nativity schools shopping for Christmas presents at Walmart. The schools recommend students for the event.
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