Sunday 21 October 2018

Killer Molly Martens to have appeal against murder conviction heard in US next month

  • Molly Martens and her retired FBI agent father Tom unanimously convicted of murder
  • Limerick-born father of two Jason Corbett found beaten to death in bedroom of his home
  • Father and daughter immediately lodged appeals against their convictions
  • Appeal date has been set by the North Carolina Court of Appeals for September 13 next
The family home in Panther Creek Court in Wallburg where Jason Corbett and his wife Molly Martens (inset) lived with his children
The family home in Panther Creek Court in Wallburg where Jason Corbett and his wife Molly Martens (inset) lived with his children
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Killers Molly Martens (34) and her retired FBI agent father, Tom Martens (68), will have their appeals against the convictions for the murder of Irish businessman Jason Corbett (39) heard in the US next month.

The father and daughter were unanimously convicted by a North Carolina jury last August of the second degree murder of Mr Corbett, a Limerick-born father of two, at his Panther Creek Court home outside Winston-Salem.

Mr Corbett was found beaten to death in the bedroom of his home on August 2 2015.

He had been attacked with a brick and a metal baseball bat.

Molly Martens, who, along with her father, Thomas Martens, murdered her husband Jason Corbett. Photo: Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch
Molly Martens, who, along with her father, Thomas Martens, murdered her husband Jason Corbett. Photo: Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch

Davidson Country prosecutors claimed he was asleep and helpless in bed when he was attacked.Both defendants were sentenced to 20 to 25 years in North Carolina prisons with Ms Martens already being cited for three breaches of prison rules while in custody.

However, both the father and daughter immediately lodged appeals against their convictions.

'The Winston Salem Journal' has now confirmed that the appeal date has been set by the North Carolina Court of Appeals for September 13 next.

Lawyers for the appellants must lodge all their briefs with the Court of Appeal by that date in their bid to overturn the conviction.

Guilty: Tom Martens arrives at the Davidson Country courthouse for the trial. Photo: Mark Condren
Guilty: Tom Martens arrives at the Davidson Country courthouse for the trial. Photo: Mark Condren

It remains unclear whether oral arguments in open court will be allowed.

Central to the father and daughter's appeal will be a number of issues.

The defence legal teams will attempt to have the key forensic evidence of Dr Stuart James disallowed.

Dr James, a Florida-based blood spatter analyst who ranks as one of the foremost experts in the world, offered critical evidence during the David Country Superior Court trial as to how Mr Corbett at one point lay helpless on the ground while he was struck from above with the brick and the baseball bat.

His evidence was considered central to the successful prosecution of the father and daughter.

The defence teams will also pursue claims of juror misconduct and the fact the trial judge, Judge David Lee, did not allow specific material to be entered into evidence.

The evidence involved ranged from disputed statements by the late father of Mr Corbett's first wife, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick, to the refusal of Judge Lee to allow disputed statements from Mr Corbett's two children.

Both father and daughter maintained they acted in self defence.

The North Carolina Court of Appeal is not expected to deliver its ruling on the appeal until early 2019.

Last week, Mr Corbett's family confirmed they marked the third anniversary of his death with a private family event in Clare, a place deeply loved by the father of two.

Mr Corbett's mother, Rita, and his sister, Tracey Corbett-Lynch, said they have faced "a never ending nightmare of pain and loss."

"Every day is a battle. I will live out my days grieving the loss of my youngest son. His suffering is unbearable to imagine and I face it every single night," Jason's mother said.

"My days are spent covering up heartache and pain. I take solace in spending time with Jason's children (Jack and Sarah). John and I will spend the anniversary with my daughters Tracey and Marilyn, (son)

Wayne and the children in Clare. It is where I feel closest to Jason as it was his happiest place as a child and where he always went back to."

 Jason's sister said the Limerick family can never forget what was done to Jason.

"The last few days have been very hard because they force everyone who loved Jason to relive the pain of losing him," she said.

"There is no escape from wondering about what those last few days of Jason's life must have been like - and the unforgivable pain and cruelty he was subjected to on the night of his murder by people he loved and trusted but who betrayed him in the worst way possible."

After being attacked by his wife and father-in-law on August 2 2015, Mr Corbett was then cruelly left to die on the bedroom floor.

Ms Martens and her father were accused by prosecutors of deliberately delaying their call to emergency services to ensure Mr Corbett had died when they arrived.

Paramedics immediately noted when they arrived that Mr Corbett's body was cold to the touch.

An attempt had also been made to drug Mr Corbett with a powerful sedative prescribed to his wife just days earlier.

Mrs Corbett-Lynch has now written a best-selling tribute to her brother entitled 'My Brother Jason'.

In it, she revealed her brother steadfastly refused to allow his second wife, Molly Martens, to adopt his two children amid concerns over her mental health.

Mrs Corbett-Lynch admitted she has been totally overwhelmed by the reaction to the book and the support shown to her family.

"I've received messages from all over the world from people who knew Jason and wanted to share stories about him through to people who didn't know him but who had similarly lost a loved one and just wanted us to know that they shared our grief."

"The gestures of kindness have been truly overwhelming."

"In particular, the support shown to Jason's two adored children, Jack and Sarah, has been nothing less than astounding."

"They are two remarkable and brave children who inspire everyone they meet."

Jack and Sarah lost their mother to a tragic asthma attack in November 2006 before being orphaned when their former nanny, Ms Martens, murdered their father at their North Carolina home.

'My Brother Jason' revealed that Ms Martens was obsessed with securing custody of her husband's children, visiting a divorce lawyer in the US to determine her rights to them just weeks after she had married Mr Corbett in 2011.

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

US prosecutors claimed Mr Corbett asleep when he was attacked - and that an attempt had also been made to drug him with a sedative prescribed to Ms Martens just days earlier.

The killing was triggered by Mr Corbett refusing to allow Ms Martens adopt his children by his late first wife, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick, amid concerns over her mental state and increasingly bizarre behaviour.

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