Jason Corbett’s family ‘devastated’ as killers may seek bail after plea deal offer

Molly and Tom Martens had convictions over death of Limerick man recently quashed

The family of Limerick man Jason Corbett have said they are “devastated” after learning his killers, Molly Martens and her father Tom Martens, have been offered a “manslaughter” plea bargain deal which could see them released on bail before the weekend.

Speaking from North Carolina, Mr Corbett’s sister, Tracey Lynch, said: “We are just devastated, shocked, we just can’t believe it, to be quite honest, we did not think it was going to go this way.”

Ms Lynch received the “bombshell” news during a meeting with Garry Frank, district attorney in Davidson County.

Mr Corbett died from head injuries after a sustained assault with a brick and a baseball bat at his family home in the town of Wallburg in 2015.


Mr Frank successfully prosecuted Molly Martens (37) and Tom Martens (71) in 2017 on second-degree murder charges. They were sentenced to between 20 and 25 years in prison. However, the convictions were recently quashed and a retrial was granted after the courts ruled that the exclusion of certain evidence and erroneous inclusion of other evidence in the original trial had prevented the Martenses from presenting a full and meaningful defence.


Tom Martens, a former FBI agent, claimed that he acted in self-defence, testifying in the 2017 trial that Mr Corbett was trying to choke his daughter. However, the trial heard evidence from police and paramedics who attended the scene, that there were no visible marks on the bodies of the accused.

Ms Lynch said she feels as if “the DA has let [Molly] and her father get away with murder”.

According to Ms Lynch, the US father and daughter will be granted bail if they apply for it, and that this could happen as soon as Thursday.

“They are in two large prisons in North Carolina, so they are being transferred from Raleigh to Lexington on Thursday, to a correctional facility located next to a courthouse, so I would expect that this is where they will apply for bail,” Ms Lynch said.

“If they apply for bail – and they will be granted bail, the DA told us that, which is quite shocking, but they will be entitled to receive bail on a bond. If they don’t take the plea then they are probably out on a bail bond until any retrial, and if they take the plea perhaps they are out for a week’s freedom and finish out whatever agreement is made in terms of the remaining time they [may] have to serve.”


If they take the plea deal they will not face a retrial. Ms Lynch said she fears they could both be immediately released on bail.

“They both have a week to decide if they want to take the plea. There are three different scales of law here, so [the DA] is downgrading [the offence] to manslaughter, and offering them between 80-104 months, but it could actually be from 67 months, and they have 44 months already served,” she said.

“That’s what they have been offered for Jason’s life. They could potentially be free within a year or so. I’d expect they will apply for bail tomorrow or perhaps early next week.”

After becoming a nanny to his two young children, Jack and Sarah, Molly Martens went on to marry Mr Corbett, whose first wife and the children’s mother, Margaret, died following an asthma attack.