Sunday 18 March 2018

Molly 'stripped of all dignity in prison', says brother

Corbett's murderer has hair dyed and cut 'against her will'

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
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

The brother of murderer Molly Martens-Corbett claims she has been stripped of all dignity in a high-security US prison.

Connor Martens posted details of his sister's prison regime and a photograph taken of her just weeks before her murder conviction, as part of his family's campaign to have the case quashed.

"As you can imagine it was difficult to escape the anxiety of 12 strangers determining your life, but we never could have imagined what has happened," he said.

"Upon entering prison on August 9, she was not given a shower, shoes or a toothbrush for the first nine days.

"This prevented her from showering and obviously brushing her teeth. There is no air conditioning.

"Over 15 people have passed out in her short time there. There are no activities. On rare occasions, she gets to go outside only to be reprimanded for walking too fast in her attempt to get exercise," he said.

The post was on a GoGetFunding page set up by Ms Martens-Corbett's aunt Mona Earnest, which aims to raise finances to support appeal legal costs of the Tennessee woman and her father, retired FBI agent Thomas Martens (67).

Ms Martens-Corbett (33) is three weeks into a minimum 20-year sentence for the second-degree murder of her husband, Irish businessman Jason Corbett (39).

Mr Corbett was battered to death in the bedroom of his North Carolina home on August 2, 2015.

He died from horrific head injuries inflicted by a metal baseball bat and a concrete paving brick. His skull was crushed by at least 12 blows.

Mr Martens was also convicted by a Davidson County jury, on August 9, of the second-degree murder of the Limerick father-of-two.

The father and daughter claimed they acted in self-defence, but both were totally uninjured at the scene.

Both confirmed on the day of their convictions that they would appeal. Their legal teams have now flagged twin-tracked challenges.

These include an appeal to the North Carolina Court of Appeal and an application to Davidson County Superior Court for a full retrial on the basis of alleged juror misconduct.

Both challenges are being contested by the Davidson County District Attorney's Office.

Ms Martens-Corbett's brother has posted details of how his sister has allegedly been treated in the North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women, since she was taken into custody.

"This picture was taken a month before the trial at a wedding I took Molly Martens-Corbett to in Charleston," Connor Martens wrote.

"Her hair has been dyed and cut against her will stripping her of any external dignity she may have had left."

He said the post was not about the conditions of the North Carolina Correctional facility.

"It isn't just about domestic abuse. It isn't about the ineptitude of a rural county investigation, or the prosecution preventing evidence from being presented," he said. "It isn't even about whether they're guilty or innocent. At this point, it is about every American and their right to a fair trial.

"The jury has gone before a national audience and made a mockery of our judicial system."

Mr Martens raised what he saw as concerns about the conviction and post-trial comments by jurors.

Both the Martens and Earnest families have vowed to fight to have the convictions overturned, with Michael Earnest describing the unanimous guilty verdicts as "the most atrocious miscarriage of justice I have ever been a part of".

Mr Martens urged every US citizen to read his post. "This isn't just about my family," he said.

Irish Independent

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