Jason Corbett murder trial begins jury selection
The 143 potential jurors were required to complete a 16-page questionnaire
Molly Martens Corbett and her father Thomas Michael Martens. Photograph: Davidson County
A total of 143 potential jurors were on hand for the first day of trial in the death of Limerick man Jason Corbett on Monday.
Molly Martens Corbett and her father, Thomas Martens, have both pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges, claiming self-defence. In what Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank called an administrative move, the prosecution dropped the involuntary manslaughter charges against both parties Monday, saying Ms Martens and her father will face the more significant of the two charges.
Potential jurors were required to complete a 16-page questionnaire, which included their knowledge of potential witnesses, in order to expedite the process of selecting a jury of 12 individuals, according to Judge David Lee, who presided over the proceedings.
Finally, a third juror was dismissed after lying to prosecutors under oath regarding her criminal history. After a series of questions asked by Assistant District Attorney Alan Martin, the pool of potential jurors was cut to 140.
Jurors were assigned to one of three groups. Group A was made–up of 50 individuals who remained in the courtroom for Monday’s selection process. Groups B and C were released for the afternoon, but are expected to serve as alternates in the event a jury of 12 cannot be selected from Group A, which was randomly drawn.
It remains unclear whether Mr Martens and his daughter will testify. Judge Lee clarified for the jury that both defendants are presumed innocent and Davidson County prosecutors have the burden of proving that they are guilty of second-degree murder. Neither are compelled to testify or offer any evidence.
Assistant District Attorneys Greg Brown, Alan Martin and Ina Stanton will serve as prosecuting attorneys in the case.
Judge Lee has deferred ruling on a motion to redact statements made by Jack and Sarah Corbett, the children of Mr Corbett. The statements were made regarding their exposure to domestic violence.