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Molly Martens swears on the Bible as she pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter during a hearing on 30 October. Alamy Stock Photo
North Carolina

Molly and Thomas Martens to remain in prison after release dates found to be incorrect

Dates showing releases this week that were listed on the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction website were found to be incorrect.

MOLLY MARTENS AND her father Thomas Martens won’t be released from custody this week, officials said, after reports circulated yesterday that the pair charged in the death of Irishman Jason Corbett would be freed this week.

The dates showing releases this week were listed on the website of the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction.

A spokesman for the department said yesterday that a review found that the dates were incorrect. The current projected release date is 27 June 2024 for both Molly Martens and Thomas Martens.

The father and daughter were transferred to the Davidson County jail in preparation for what was believed to be their release. They will be now transferred back to state prisons to finish serving out their sentences, officials said.

The mistaken information showed Thomas Martens would be released today and Molly Martens on Wednesday.

In a plea deal, the father and daughter were each sentenced in November to seven to 30 months of remaining prison time with credit for 44 months served, after they entered pleas in the death of Jason Corbett.

Thomas Martens pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and Molly Martens pleaded no contest to an identical charge, but her plea was treated by the court as a guilty plea.

Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank had expressed surprise yesterday on hearing that Molly and Thomas Martens would be released so soon.

“I was surprised it was this soon, but it is totally the decision of (the North Carolina Department of Correction) based on the sentence imposed by Judge David Hall,” Frank said, in an interview before the miscalculation was revealed. Frank said he had no role in the release decision after the two were sentenced.

At the time of their convictions, an attorney for Molly Martens had said the father and daughter would serve only seven months in prison because of factors including points for good behavior they earned during their initial 44-month sentences.

The news of an impending release appeared to surprise defence lawyers as well.

“We respect the judgment of the court and the (sentencing) calculations by DOC,” said attorney Jones Byrd, who represents Thomas Martens. “Our client will look forward to being with his family as soon as he is able.”

thomas-martens-left-sits-with-attorneys-jones-byrd-center-and-jay-vannoy-right-during-a-hearing-monday-oct-30-2023-for-martens-and-his-daughter-molly-corbett-in-the-2015-death-of-mollys Thomas Martens sits with his attorneys during a hearing on 30 October. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Molly Martens and Thomas Martens were sentenced in November to between 51 and 74 months in prison in connection with the 2015 death of Jason Corbett. They had served 44 months in prison after a previous conviction, which was thrown out on appeal.

Lawyers for each spent months negotiating separate pleas to a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

The decision on how much additional prison time – or whether to give any – was left to Judge Hall of Forsyth Superior Court. Prosecutors and defence lawyers argued their case in a sentencing hearing that ran for a week.

That became necessary after state appellate courts ordered a new trial after determining that errors had been made during their first trial in the summer of 2017. Martens and his daughter were each sentenced to between 20 and 25 years in prison after being found guilty of second-degree murder.


Jason Corbett was killed in his Davidson County home on 2 August 2015.

Investigators said that Molly Martens and Thomas Martens, a former FBI agent, used an aluminum baseball bat and a paver stone used in landscaping to fracture Jason Corbett’s skull and cause injuries to his arm, legs and torso.

The defence contended that they were acting in self-defense and that Martens had intervened only after seeing Jason Corbett choking his daughter.

The couple met in 2008 when Molly Martens was working as an au pair caring for Jason Corbett’s two children from a previous marriage.

Before handing down the new sentences in November, Hall said that “every criminal case “should be a search for the truth,” but he doesn’t know the truth in this case despite listening carefully to the evidence.

He added that he did not understand why Thomas Martens or his wife Sharon – who was also in the house – didn’t call 911 or how Thomas Martens and Molly Martens were left basically unharmed when Jason Corbett was so badly beaten.

In court, Thomas Martens took responsibility, apologised and told Hall he had great respect for the law. He said he had to act when he saw Jason Corbett choking his daughter.

“I had no choice,” Martens said. “I did the best that I could.”

Jason Corbett’s sister, Tracey Lynch Corbett, along with Jason’s children and other family members, travelled from Ireland to attend last month’s hearing.

Amid the reports yesterday that Molly Martens and Thomas Martens would be released this week, Tracey Lynch Corbett shared a statement on social media saying that the Corbett family were “appalled” to learn the news via the Irish media. 

“We were left completely in the dark by all North Carolina justice agencies in whom we had put our faith in for the past eight years. The release of Tom and Molly Martens after spending just one month extra behind bars is an insult to Jason’s memory and our family,” she said. 

It is not yet clear whether the family has been informed of the dates error. 

Scott Sexton and Wes Young