Killer Molly 'will appeal to state Supreme Court'
Killers Tom and Molly Martens will seek to appeal their murder convictions to the North Carolina Supreme Court if they fail in their bid to secure retrials before the Court of Appeals.
The father and daughter, who are serving 20 to 25-year sentences for the brutal murder of Irish businessman Jason Corbett (39), are determined to overturn their convictions and are set to seek a Supreme Court challenge if required.
Mr Corbett's sister, Tracey Corbett Lynch, who spearheaded the campaign for justice for her brother, warned that not only was his life cruelly taken on August 2, 2015 but attempts remain ongoing to take his good name.
"We came here to North Carolina to give a voice to Jason and to defend his good name," she said. "We will continue to do that. Justice was done for Jason when Tom and Molly Martens were convicted of his murder in 2017."
Ms Corbett Lynch attended the Raleigh hearing along with her husband Dave Lynch, Jason's twin Wayne, and his sister Marilyn. Wayne was the last family member to see his brother alive when he visited on holiday in July 2015.
Also in attendance in Raleigh was Lynn Shanahan, Mr Corbett's friend who introduced him to his late first wife, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick. She died after an asthma attack in November 2006.
Mr Corbett met Martens when she applied for the position of nanny to look after his two children in Limerick, both aged under four, in 2008.
However, he was totally unaware the young woman had determined to become a surrogate mother for the two youngsters. Mr Corbett's family maintain he was beaten to death with a brick and a baseball bat because he was planning to move back to Ireland with his children amid mounting concerns.
Martens visited a US divorce lawyer just weeks after her lavish Tennessee wedding to the Limerick packaging executive in June 2011 to determine her rights to his children. Both she and her father maintained they acted in self-defence, despite North Carolina prosecutors pointing out the "overwhelming discrepancy" in injuries inflicted that evening.
Mr Corbett suffered at least 12 blows to the head. The Martens were totally uninjured.
A senior North Carolina justice source has now said that if the Martens fail to get their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal and retrials ordered in Davidson County, a bid for a Supreme Court challenge is viewed as "inevitable".
"This could go on for years," they said.
One legal source said a ruling in favour of the Martens on some of their evidential applications would create legal precedent in North Carolina.
A challenge to the state Supreme Court is only automatic if one of the three appeal judges disagrees with their colleagues and a split ruling is delivered. Failing that, appellants must apply for a Supreme Court challenge.
The defence counsel for retired FBI agent Tom Martens insisted they were very happy with how the appeal went.
"(But) I never try to predict what a court is going to do," solicitor David Freedman told the Irish Independent. "What's next? Now we wait."