‘Today the District Attorney for Davidson County has let her and her father get away with murder’ – Tracey Corbett Lynch
US prosecutors have offered a shock plea bargain deal to Tom (71) and Molly (37) Martens over the killing of Irish father of two Jason Corbett (39).
The revelation means that, if accepted, the father and daughter will not face a US retrial for the second degree murder of the Limerick businessman in August 2015 but will instead accept a lesser charge, mostly likely manslaughter or unlawful killing.
The plea bargain was offered almost three weeks after the North Carolina Supreme Court quashed the second degree murder convictions for the father and daughter over evidential issues.
In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, the Martens family had hinted that a plea deal might be considered after the former FBI agent and his daughter, a nanny, had served almost four years of 20-25 year prison terms for beating Jason Corbett to death in the bedroom of his Winston-Salem home with a metal baseball bat and concrete paving brick.
The Irish widower's family consistently maintained he was killed to prevent him moving back to Ireland with his children amid concerns over his second wife's mental health and increasingly bizarre behaviour.
Mr Corbett's family - who had travelled to North Carolina to meet with the Davidson County District Attorney last week - expressed shock at the decision.
“We are devastated that the District Attorney for Davidson County has decided to offer a plea deal and not seek a retrial of Tom and Molly Martens who admitted killing Jason Corbett, leaving his children, then aged 10 and eight, orphaned," Mr Corbett's sister, Tracey Corbett-Lynch said.
Ms Corbett-Lynch added “today the District Attorney for Davidson County has let her and her father get away with murder”.
Tracey had travelled to the US last week with her husband, David Lynch, both of whom are legal guardians for Mr Corbett's two children who were left orphaned by the 2015 killing.
The couple have waged a courageous battle for justice since 2015 – culminating in the father and daughter being convicted of second degree murder following a high profile trial in July and August 2017 in North Carolina.
Both immediately appealed their convictions.
Mr Corbett's wife and the mother of his two children, Margaret 'Mags', died in November 2006 from a severe asthma attack. Their children were both aged two years and under.
He later began a relationship with Ms Martens, a US nanny, while totally unaware of
her history of mental health problems.
The Limerick businessman relocated to the US in 2011 after his Tennessee-born wife complained of homesickness.
The 2017 trial heard Mr Corbett was beaten to death as he slept with a metal baseball bat and a concrete paving brick.
An attempt had been made to drug him, he was beaten even after he was dead and the trial heard it was alleged the father and daughter even delayed calling emergency services just to ensure Mr Corbett was dead when paramedics arrived.
"What does it say for justice in North Carolina that you can drug a father of two, then beat him to death with a baseball bat and a paving brick, literally crush his skull, and still escape a murder conviction," Tracey added.
"What does it say for justice that you can escape a murder conviction so long as you have deep pockets? Would Molly and Tom Martens have avoided a retrial if they weren’t wealthy?"
"We are grateful to the detectives who listened to the truth about Molly Martens, and gathered evidence showing she was a dangerous, lying fantasist with a history of mental illness who drugged Jason with Trazodone sleeping pills that had been prescribed to Molly
Martens two days prior to Jason's death."
"The detectives provided ample evidence for the District Attorney to successfully prosecute Molly and Tom Martens for second degree murder in 2017."
"A jury unanimously convicted both. When the Supreme Court of North Carolina voted by a four to three majority to grant a retrial last month, they did so for two principal reasons."
"One reason was a technicality relating to blood found on the inside hem of Tom Marten’s boxer shorts, blood which showed Tom Martens had been standing over Jason beating him with a baseball bat from a height of less than two feet while Jason was on the ground.
Though the other blood spatters on Tom Marten’s boxer shorts had been tested and
confirmed as blood at the North Carolina State Laboratory the blood samples inside the hem had not been."
"On this basis, the Supreme Court said the blood spatter expert’s testimony should be set aside. The evidence still sits in police evidence bags, and would only require a retesting of those blood samples to allow this evidence to be used in a retrial. It is inexplicable to our family that District Attorney Garry Frank has chosen not to do this and not to proceed with a retrial."
"The second reason the Supreme Court majority set aside the unanimous verdict of the trial jury was because of statements made by Jason’s two children - then aged ten and eight - to social workers in interviews which took place immediately after a funeral service for their father - a funeral service Molly Martens banned Jason’s own family from attending."
"Jason’s two children, now aged 16 and 14, travelled to North Carolina this week and spent days giving statements to detectives outlining how they were terrified when giving those statements to social workers because Molly Martens had perpetrated years of abuse of the children."
"The children told detectives how they had been coached and intimidated by Molly Martens into lying to the social workers. They had been compelled to lie and claim that they had witnessed domestic abuse in the house."
"The children were coached from the night of the murder in what to say when asked. The children recanted those statements once they returned to Ireland and were safe."
"This week they detailed for Davidson County detectives the long history of child abuse perpetrated against them by Molly Martens. The children also detailed for detectives how they saw key items of evidence - such as Jason’s phone and two of his computers - in Molly’s family’s possession in the days after the murder.
"These items were never found, as they would have proved that Jason was planning to return home to Ireland with the children. They would also have proved that Jason's life assurance policy was changed a year before his death to make Molly the sole beneficiary.
"The simple truth is Molly Martens killed Jason Corbett to get his children. Today the District Attorney for Davidson County has let her and her father get away with murder.”