Defence questions jurors approved in Martens murder case

Widow and father-in-law of Limerick-born Jason Corbett facing trial in North Carolina

 Molly Martens Corbett arrives at  Davidson County Courthouse on Monday. Photograph: Donnie Roberts/The Lexington Dispatch

Molly Martens Corbett arrives at Davidson County Courthouse on Monday. Photograph: Donnie Roberts/The Lexington Dispatch

 

Jury selection in the murder trial of Molly Martens Corbett and her father Thomas Martens continued on Wednesday at Davidson County Courthouse in Lexington, North Carolina.

The widow and father-in-law of Limerick-born Jason Corbett (39) are charged with second-degree murder in connection with an incident early on August 2nd, 2015 when he was found beaten to death inside his home at Wallburg, North Carolina.

Ms Martens (35) and her 67-year-old father , who are originally from Knoxville, Tennessee, have both pleaded not guilty to the charges, claiming self-defence.

David Freedman, a lawyer representing Mr Martens, began the defence’s questioning of potential jurors on Wednesday.

A total of 143 potential jurors were on hand for the first day of trial on Monday. By Wednesday, the prosecution was satisfied with 12 jurors who were subject to questions from Mr Freedman and Walter Holton, a lawyer representing Ms Martens.

Questionnaire

Mr Holton continued with questions for jurors into the afternoon. At deadline, the 12 jurors approved by the prosecution were answering questions and awaiting the approval of the defence team.

Potential jurors were initially required to complete a 16-page questionnaire, which included their knowledge of potential witnesses, in order to expedite the process of selecting a jury, according to Judge David Lee.

Davidson County assistant district attorney Alan Martin used the questionnaire to thin the pool of jurors.

Mr Martin’s inquiries pertained largely to the nature of relationships between potential jurors and witnesses, as well as past instances that could create emotional difficulties. Multiple potential jurors mentioned instances of domestic violence.

Ten potential jurors were dismissed on Tuesday, seven of whom spoke of their experience with violent incidents.

One juror was dismissed on Wednesday for untruthfully answering questions about her criminal history, the second to do so. Another juror was dismissed after an extensive line of questioning regarding her prior knowledge of the case, ascertained through social and digital media.

It remains unclear whether Mr Martens and his daughter will testify.

Judge Lee told the jury on Monday the defendants were presumed innocent and neither are compelled to testify or offer any evidence.