The family of an Ohio teenager allegedly strangled to death by her boyfriend on a vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, said he “should never ever be free again” at his bond hearing on Thursday.
South Carolina authorities charged Blake Linkous, 18, with murder after he allegedly choked Natalie Martin, 18, on June 6 inside a vacation rental on Maison Drive, where at least five other friends were staying for a post-graduation celebration.
“He should never ever be free again. Let alone, alive to taste and feel freedom after three weeks when he took our beautiful daughter from this world. Anyone who feels different should truly feel ashamed of themselves. With right and wrong so undefined in the times we’ve all lived in, this should be an easy choice,” Martin’s family said in court Thursday, according to WMBF News.
Third Judicial Circuit Judge Thomas Cooper Jr. set Linkous’ bond at $150,000, noting that there is “nothing” in his background that indicates “he is a person of violence.”
“In this particular case, he has not denied responsibility. He has acknowledged it, he’s recognized it and apparently is facing up to it as best as he can,” Cooper said.
Linkous allegedly choked Martin to death in a room at the vacation rental after they had an argument. He then apparently tried to stab himself, according to others who were at the home when the alleged crime unfolded.
The day before Martin’s murder, the ex-high school sweethearts were fighting over Martin texting another man, but the dispute was quickly resolved, the victim’s friend, Brooklyn Ferrell, previously told Fox News Digital.
The group went out to a club, but Martin was not feeling well and headed home early with Linkous.
Two of their friends returned about 10:45 p.m. but had to enter through the back of the house because no one was answering the front door, said Ferrell, who was not on the trip, but who has been in regular communication with the victim’s mother and teens who were present.
One of the friends heard three loud thuds, checked the living room but noticed nothing amiss. He tried the door to the bedroom, where Linkous and Martin were sleeping, but it was locked.
As the night wore on, the other revelers returned and were all home and asleep by 7 a.m.
Two hours later, Linkous allegedly burst from the room, bleeding and talking quickly, as he repeatedly said, “Natalie’s not waking up!”
Ferrell said he was alone in the room with her corpse for hours. Two of Martin’s friends went into the bedroom and found her on the floor and started CPR. “It was way too late for that. She was cold and stiff,” Ferrell added.
Linkous, a high school football player and wrestler, and Martin, who loved softball and soccer, dated for about three years before they split up in February after he allegedly assaulted her at his house in front of a group of their friends.
“He took her and threw her across the room,” according to Ferrell.
“He was trying to make amends and apologized to her all the time. He would text me constantly asking what I should do to get her back,” she recalled.
Linkous was known for his temper, but Ferrell never suspected he was capable of this degree of violence.
“I’m angry at him because he is a better person than this. He truly is,” she said.
Linkous’ defense team on Thursday asked that the suspect be placed on house arrest. Cooper set his bond at $150,000 upon the condition that he waive extradition to Ohio to be on house arrest with his parents, wear an electric monitor and undergo a mental evaluation, according to WMBF.