Attorneys will argue not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect
By Eileen Persike
Ashlee Martinson said not a word during her video court appearance Monday June 29 in Oneida County. To the two charges of first degree intentional homicide and three counts of false imprisonment, Martinson’s attorney Amy Ferguson entered pleas of not guilty, and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. This defense is often referred to as NGI.
According to a criminal complaint, the teen is charged with the alleged March 7 shooting death of her step-father, 37- year old Thomas Ayers and the stabbing death of her mother, 40-year old Jennifer Ayers. The false imprisonment charges stem from Martinson allegedly putting her three sisters in a room and tying the door shut before leaving the state. A 911 call made by a young girl from the Ayers’ town of Piehl residence brought Oneida County authorities to the scene. The complaint states that detectives later interviewed the girls and determined that Martinson was a suspect.
The 17-year old was apprehended the next day in Boone County, Indiana with her boyfriend, 22-year old Ryan Sisco, fought extradition, but was returned to the state in April following a hearing, and remains jailed on a $750,000 cash bond.
Judge Michael Bloom ordered attorneys on both sides to provide him a list of potential physicians, from which he will appoint to psychologically examine the defendant. A status hearing is scheduled for the end of September.
NGI: What does it mean?
Mental responsibility of defendant: Wisconsin State Statute 971.15
A person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of such conduct, as a result of mental disease or defect, the person lacked substantial capacity either to appreciate the wrongfulness of her conduct or conform his/her conduct to the requirements of law.
Mental disease or defect excluding responsibility is an affirmative defense which the defendant must establish to a reasonable certainty by the greater weight of the credible evidence.
Examination of the defendant: Wisconsin State Statute 971.16
…the court may appoint at least one physician or at least one psychologist, but not more than 3 physicians or psychologists or combination thereof, to examine the defendant and to testify at the trial.
Trial actions: Wisconsin State Statute 971.165 (1) (a)
If a defendant couples a plea of not guilty with a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect
there shall be a separation of the issues with a sequential order of proof in a continuous trial. The plea of not guilty shall be determined first and the plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect shall be determined second.
Source: Wisconsin State Legislature website