Claims against Corbett removed from website after complaints
Martens family seek $300,000 in donations to fund appeal and defence of civil action
A fundraising website supporting a planned appeal by convicted murderers Molly Martens Corbett and her father Thomas Martens has removed part of an appeal for donations following complaints.
An aunt of Molly Martens, Mona Earnest, set up a page on the GoGetFunding website on Thursday appealing for $300,000 to cover the family’s legal bills resulting from their trial and conviction for the murder of Martens Corbett’s husband, Limerick man Jason Corbett.
The money will also be used to fund an appeal of the conviction and for their defence of a civil action being taken by Mr Corbett’s family.
The appeal originally contained claims that the murder was in response to a history of domestic violence.
No evidence was produced during the trial to support such allegations, and Mr Martens himself told the trial he did not witness any physical violence between Mr Corbett and his daughter prior to an altercation which he claimed had occurred on the night he was murdered.
GoGetFunding has now deleted references to domestic abuse on the appeal page.
A spokeswoman for the company told The Irish Times on Friday: “We have removed a small portion of the campaign this morning which referred to aspects not introduced into the defence, but have allowed any aspect that does form part of the defence to remain.”
The appeal had raised just over $8,000 as of 4.30 pm Irish Time on Friday. This came from 48 donors, each donating an average of $168.
When it went live, the appeal met with an almost universal negative reaction online.
Commenters on GoGetFunding said it contains “disgusting” lies and questioned why the fundraising website allowed it to go up in the first place.
However all of these comments have now been deleted with only positive comments remaining.
“I would encourage anyone NOT to donate to this campaign and to read the facts of the case. Molly and Tom put the Corbett family through sheer hell and continue to do so through their extended family. STOP,” read one now deleted response.
Another commenter wrote: “The information you are providing on this is false and misleading , Mona is continuing to torment a family that lost their father. Molly presented no evidence of abuse in the house at court because it didn’t happen and has now started to spread lies about Jason . Just think about why did she not say in court she was being abused why why ???”
Another wrote: “Disgusting. Nothing but a pack of lies. Shame on you and anyone who supports. It’s an insult to the real victims of domestic violence.”
Several users said they would be reporting the appeal to the owners of the website.
The website defended the decision to allow the appeal to take place and said that although some see it as morally questionable, “within the legal system it is absolutely legal”.
“We are an impartial site that allows those facing legal costs the opportunity to raise funds from their family, friends and supporters in order to ensure they are able to employ the best legal defence they can afford - as is their absolute right,” the spokeswoman said.
“In legal defence cases such as this there is always high emotion and because of this we expect a large volume of complaints. However, whether our decision is seen by some to be morally questionable, within the legal system it is absolutely legal.
“We have no intentions at this time to remove this campaign, as it would set a precedent for all future legal defence campaigns and appeals - which, if someone did not have the opportunity to seek adequate legal defence could potentially lead to a mistrial, miscarriage of justice or any other number of potential outcomes.”
The father and daughter were jailed for a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of 25 years on Wednesday after their conviction for second degree murder in Lexington, North Carolina.
“The legal expenses have gutted the family financially. The next step is to file an appeal and fight the wrongful death suit. We desperately need your help,” the appeal states.
“Tom, a 31-year veteran of the FBI, immediately responded to her screams and found her being strangled by her husband. Tom went to Molly’s defence, and in a battle for their lives, the husband died,” the description said.
Attorneys representing the two accused have indicated they will be appealing the guilty verdict of the Davidson county court. The accused will remain in prison while awaiting their appeal which will be heard within 18 months.