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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 28 January, 2020

Molly Martens and father to have appeal against murder conviction heard next month

They were convicted of killing Irishman Jason Corbett.

Molly Martens-Corbett and Thomas Martens
Molly Martens-Corbett and Thomas Martens
Image: Davidson County Sheriff's Office

MOLLY MARTENS-CORBETT and her father Thomas Martens will have their appeals against their convictions for the murder of Irishman Jason Corbett (39) heard in the US next month.

The defence team has until 13 September to turn in its briefs for an appeal to overturn their second-degree murder convictions.

According to documents filed with the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the record of appeal was sent to defence attorneys this month. The briefs were previously due on Monday, but a motion was filed to extend the due date by a month.

The case features an 18-volume transcript of 3,190 pages and a four-volume record of 676 pages.

David Freedman and Jones Byrd are representing Martens while Douglas Kingsbery and Melissa Hill are representing Martens-Corbett.

Appellate cases do not hear new evidence. Instead, the cases investigate whether there were errors in the trial’s procedure.

On 9 August 2017, a jury found Martens-Corbett and Martens guilty of second-degree murder. Both were sentenced to between 20 and 25 years in prison.

Jason Corbett, Corbett-Marten’s husband, was found dead at his home on 2 August 2015.

Reports of an assault

Davidson County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a report that day of an assault at the Corbetts’ home at Panther Creek Court in Wallburg, North Carolina.

Martens, a 68-year-old retired FBI agent who was visiting the Corbetts with his wife, told authorities he was awakened by an argument between his daughter and son-in-law and carried a baseball bat to their bedroom, where he found Jason Corbett attacking his daughter.

Martens and Corbett-Martens claimed Corbett was choking his wife and threatening to kill her, and they acted in self-defence. Investigators did not believe that explanation.

Authorities said Corbett was planning to leave his wife — his second wife and the former nanny to his children — and return home to Ireland. Authorities allege that Corbett-Martens and Martens beat Corbett to death with the baseball bat and a brick paving stone.

In August 2017, defence attorneys filed a joint motion for appropriate relief to overturn the convictions based on misconduct by jurors, but that motion was later denied by Davidson County Superior Court Judge David Lee.

The motion stated that “private” conversations were held between the jurors prior to closing arguments, opinions were formed about Corbett-Marten’s character outside the evidence presented in the trial, opinions were formed regarding her as the “aggressor” outside the evidence presented, truthful answers were not provided regarding some jurors’ ability to serve on the jury, and that opinions were expressed by jurors during evidence presentation and additional juror comments indicated bias.

The motion also included affidavits from a person who witnessed a private conversation during jury deliberations and an affidavit from an alternate juror who claimed other jurors discussed the case prior to deliberation.

The appeal is expected to challenge several parts of the case, including juror misconduct, the allowance of testimony from blood spatter analyst Stuart James, the denial of statements from Mikey Fitzpatrick (the father of Corbett’s late first wife), and the denial of statements from Corbett’s children.

Comments are closed due to ongoing legal proceedings.

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About the author:

Ben Coley

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