Jason Corbett’s killers Molly and Tom Martens released on bail of $200,000

Victim’s sister says district attorney plans to proceed with retrial of Limerick man’s killing

Molly Martens  leaving prison with her lawyer

Molly Martens leaving prison with her lawyer

 

Molly Martens and her father Thomas left jail in North Carolina yesterday, as a judge released them on bail pending a retrial in the Jason Corbett murder case.

Ms Martens (37) left Davidson County Jail shortly after 4pm local time without speaking to reporters. Her 71-year-old father left at 5.15pm, saying he was “glad to be back” with his family.

They were both granted release on a $200,000 bond at a sitting at Davidson County Courthouse in Lexington, North Carolina. They were also forced to surrender their passports and banned from having any contact with the family of Limerick man Mr Corbett and his two children, Jack and Sarah.

The pair had been held in the district jail since last week, having been transferred from federal prison following a decision by the North Carolina Supreme Court to uphold an appeal court ruling quashing their conviction for the murder of Mr Corbett in 2015.

This was because the original trial had omitted admissible testimony.

Mr Corbett died after being attacked at the home he shared with Ms Martens and his two children in North Carolina.

Molly Martens is seen in a screengrab from court proceedings in North Carolina
Molly Martens is seen in a screengrab from court proceedings in North Carolina

Ms Martens and her father, a retired FBI agent, were convicted of murder in the second degree following a trial in August 2017.

Mr Martens’s lawyer declined to comment on any discussions on a possible plea bargain between the Davidson County district attorney and the defendants which would avoid a retrial – a prospect that the family of Mr Corbett have strongly opposed.

But in a statement following yesterday’s hearing, Mr Corbett’s sister, Tracey Corbett Lynch, said the district attorney had decided to proceed with a retrial rather than seek a plea deal.

“We welcome today’s decision by Garry Frank, the district attorney, to seek a retrial of Tom and Molly Martens for the murder of Jason Corbett, a loving, kind, father of two who was beaten to death in his own home,” said Ms Corbett Lynch and her husband David Lynch, who have legal guardianship of Jack and Sarah.

“We look forward to a date being set for a retrial at the earliest opportunity. The district attorney’s determination to seek a retrial in this case ensures that our six-year fight for justice for Jason continues,” she added.

She said Mr Corbett’s children Jack and Sarah had been “given the chance to give evidence in a retrial, and they look forward to telling a jury the truth about the abuse they and Jason suffered at the hands of Molly Martens”.

A retrial is not expected to take place before next year.

Thomas Martens in a screengrab from court proceedings
Thomas Martens in a screengrab from court proceedings

During yesterday’s hearings, attorney for the state, Alan Martin, recounted the details of the 2017 murder trial, describing in graphic detail how Mr Corbett had suffered severe injuries to the head when he was attacked by his wife Molly and her father.

Mr Martin argued that the bond should be set at $1 million, but this was rejected by the judge. Instead, he put the bond at $200,000 – the same level as the bond agreed during their pre-trial agreement while awaiting the original trial.

The court was told that Mr Martens and his daughter posed no flight risk, while Mr Martens had been a “model inmate”.

Mr Martens’s wife was also receiving treatment for cancer and was present in court. Also at the hearing were Molly Martens’s three brothers and their spouses.