Wednesday 18 July 2018

Civil action against Molly and father over murder faces long delay

Molly Martens-Corbett was convicted of second-degree murder
Molly Martens-Corbett was convicted of second-degree murder
Molly Martens Corbett. Photo: Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch
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Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A wrongful death civil action against Thomas Martens and Molly Martens Corbett, the murderers of an Irish businessman, could be delayed until 2019.

The father and daughter are serving 20-year prison sentences for the second-degree murder of Limerick father-of-two Jason Corbett (39) in North Carolina two years ago.

Now a US court will rule on applications by the duo for the civil action to be effectively suspended until their twin-track appeals against their convictions are heard.

The revelation came as the Sunday Independent today publishes the second part of a book on the dramatic North Carolina trial entitled Molly Martens: The Making of a Murderer.

The Davidson County Superior Court murder trial of the Tennessee-born father and daughter dominated headlines across both Ireland and the US in July and August.

Martens (67), a retired FBI agent, and Martens Corbett (33) were both convicted of the second-degree murder of Mr Corbett by a unanimous jury verdict.

Molly Martens book part 2
Molly Martens book part 2

Mr Corbett, who lost his first wife to an asthma attack when she was just 30, had married Martens Corbett in 2011 and relocated from Limerick to the US because she was homesick.

He died after a brutal attack in which he was beaten with a metal baseball bat and a heavy concrete paving slab in the bedroom of his home.

Martens and Martens Corbett must now serve sentences of at least 20 years in high- security North Carolina prisons.

However, both have launched twin-track challenges to their convictions.

The primary challenge is to the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

This appeal is focused on legal aspects of the four-week trial and why, they argue, the convictions should now be quashed.

A second challenge is to the Davidson County Superior Court itself and is based on allegations of juror misconduct at a critical part of the trial.

Lawyers for the father and daughter have alleged that some jury members disregarded instructions from trial judge David Lee in discussing elements of the hearing.

It is now expected that the North Carolina Court of Appeals will wait for the Davidson County issues to be resolved before proceeding with the appeal proper.

US legal experts warned that, depending on the length of the criminal appeals, the civil action could be delayed until well into 2019.

Because of her murder conviction, Martens Corbett cannot benefit from a $600,000 (€516,000) life insurance policy on her husband which was taken out by his employers.

Similarly, she is not expected to be able to benefit from a $400,000 (€344,000) luxury property bought by Mr Corbett for her and his two children in North Carolina.

Mr Corbett died from horrific head injuries sustained during a prolonged assault at the family's home in Panther Creek Court.

He was pronounced dead at the scene and prosecutors claimed during the murder trial that the father and daughter faked CPR attempts and deliberately delayed calling 911 to get help for Mr Corbett.

It was also suggested that Mr Corbett may have been asleep in bed when he was first attacked.

Martens and Martens Corbett claimed that they acted in self-defence and alleged that they were attacked by Mr Corbett.

However, they were both found to be completely uninjured at the scene by police and paramedics.

Sunday Independent

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