Sunday 24 September 2017

Prosecutors fight Molly Martens' bid to overturn murder trial verdict

Molly Martens-Corbett. Photo: Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch
Molly Martens-Corbett. Photo: Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch

Shane Phelan Legal Affairs Editor

Prosecutors in the US have come out fighting against efforts by Molly Martens-Corbett and her father Thomas Martens to have their murder convictions set aside over alleged jury misconduct.

The pair, who have been jailed for between 20 and 25 years for the brutal slaying of Limerick man Jason Corbett, filed a motion last month alleging jurors in the case were biased.

They cited post-trial press interviews given by certain jurors and a 10 to 15 minute meeting between two jurors in a car the day before the guilty verdict.

They claimed one juror talked post-trial about the case on social media, mentioning that Molly Martens-Corbett was "delusional" and "how daddy and Sharon (Molly’s mother) enabled this non-human person."

However, in a responding affidavit filed with a court in North Carolina last night, prosecutors insisted no misconduct had occurred.

Lexington assistant district attorney Ina Stanton said the post trial comments did not show any prior bias towards the defendants or that jurors had been in receipt of any prejudicial information.

Ms Stanton said opinions or impressions the jurors may have derived from observing the defendants during the trial were an “internal” matter for the jury and could not now be the subject of a post trial review by the court.

Referring the alleged meeting of two jurors in a car. the assistant district attorney also said there was no authority which would prohibit juror contact with one another outside the deliberation room.

Molly and her brother Connor attended a wedding in Charleston a month before the second degree murder trial
Molly and her brother Connor attended a wedding in Charleston a month before the second degree murder trial

Father-of-two Jason Corbett was beaten to death with a brick, which was on his wife Molly's nightstand in the couple's bedroom, and an aluminium baseball bat in his home in Panther Creek Court, North Carolina, in the early hours of Sunday, August 2, 2015.

Davidson County Superior Court will now consider the submission by the assistant district attorney before deciding whether there should be a full hearing of the motion tabled by the two defendants.

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