Monday 25 March 2019

Murderer Molly Martens facing up to four more years in jail for breaching rules

Molly Martens Corbett walks to the Davidson County Courthouse. Picture: Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch
Molly Martens Corbett walks to the Davidson County Courthouse. Picture: Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch
Molly Martens Corbett. Photo: Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch
Molly Martens-Corbett: defence was ‘incredible’. Photo: Donnie Roberts

Ralph Riegel

KILLER Molly Martens is facing up to four extra years in prison after being cited for breaching strict rules in the high-security North Carolina jail where she is serving a sentence for the murder of her Irish husband.

The former au pair also learned earlier this month that her appeal against her murder conviction had been rejected by Davidson County Superior Court.

Martens (34) and her father, Thomas (67), a retired FBI agent, were both convicted last August of the second-degree murder of Limerick father-of-two Jason Corbett (39).

Both received sentences of between 20 and 25 years, with a minimum of 20 years ordered to be served.

Mr Corbett was beaten to death with a brick and a metal baseball bat in the master bedroom of the gated community home he shared with Martens, his second wife.

Davidson County Superior Court's Judge David Lee rejected submissions for the two convictions to be quashed and a full retrial ordered.

The father and daughter had sought the retrial on the basis of what they claimed was juror misconduct.

It has now emerged that Martens may face having her prison term extended by between three and four years after being cited for a breach of strict jail rules.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) revealed that she was cited on November 21 for what was termed "unauthorised leave" at the Southern Correctional Institution.

Martens, whose inmate number is 1551729, is believed to have either left a supervised area without the permission of prison guards or not reported to a supervised area as required.

US prisons treat any unauthorised movement by inmates as an extremely serious matter.

NCDPS files have now revealed that, while her father has a scheduled release date of August 3, 2037 - a minimum 20-year prison sentence - Martens has a scheduled release date of July 28, 2041.

She had originally been scheduled to have the same general get-out date as her father.

It is understood that her release date, which will ultimately be determined by a parole board, was provisionally revised after her November 21 infraction.

The incident did not involve Martens leaving the prison facility itself.

The former nanny, a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, was moved from the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women, outside Raleigh, to the Southern Correctional Institution, which is just south of Lexington in the same US state, on August 30.

It is expected she will serve out her entire sentence at Southern Correctional.

She is now in the regular prison population and, like her father, will have a rout- ine custody review next February.

Bizarrely, Martens has insisted she is officially referred to in the prison as Molly Martens-Corbett, refusing to drop her murdered husband's surname.

Judge Lee jailed the father and daughter after they were both convicted of the second-degree murder of Mr Corbett by the unanimous verdict of the 12-member Davidson County jury.

The pair now have only one legal avenue left to overturn their murder convictions, a pending case before the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

That will be entirely based on legal aspects of their four-week murder trial last summer.

However, it will not include new evidence, and will be effectively decided on legal submissions over how the trial was conducted. The appeal is not expected to be heard until mid-2018.

Mr Corbett died from horrific head injuries sustained during a prolonged assault at the property at Panther Creek Court, North Carolina, that he shared with Martens.

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

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

Martens and her father are also defending a wrongful death civil suit filed against them by Mr Corbett's estate.

The action also lists Thomas Martens' wife, Sharon, as a co-defendant.

Molly and Thomas Mar- tens have requested that the civil proceedings be delayed, given that they are both challenging their criminal convictions.

They have also requested that any hearing of the civil proceedings take place outside Davidson County.

During the murder trial, the pair claimed they acted entirely in self-defence.

However, both were found to be totally uninjured at the scene.

In contrast, Mr Corbett's skull had been crushed after he sustained a minimum of 12 blows from the baseball bat and garden paving brick.

His skull was so badly crushed that a pathologist could not determine the precise number of blows.

It also emerged during the trial that traces of a powerful sedative, trazodone, which had been prescribed to Molly Martens three days before the killing, was found in her husband's system.

Mr Corbett had repeatedly declined to sign adoption papers involving his two children in favour of Martens. He was also said to be planning to return home to Limerick.

Martens had seen a divorce lawyer only months after the couple wed in 2011.

Mr Corbett lost his first wife and the mother of his two children, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick, to an asthma attack when she was 30.

He met Martens when she flew to Ireland to take up work as an au pair for his children.

Mr Corbett relocated from Limerick to North Carolina in 2011 after his second wife repeatedly complained of feeling homesick.


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