Defendants in Irish businessman’s murder freed on bond in NC

Jason Corbett, left, and Molly Martens on their wedding day in 2011.

Jason Corbett, left, and Molly Martens on their marriage ceremony day in 2011.


The North Carolina murder of an Irish businessman has taken one other twist because the father-daughter defendants convicted of beating him to dying with a baseball bat and brick had been freed on bond, pushing Davidson County once more into worldwide headlines.

Last month, the NC Supreme Court ruled Molly Corbett and Thomas Martens deserved a brand new trial for the 2015 slaying of Jason Corbett. They have lengthy mentioned it was an act of self-defense.

The court docket’s determination positioned the case again in the palms of the county’s district lawyer, whose district contains Lexington. While the prosecutor weighs whether or not to name one other jury or supply the pair a plea deal on lesser fees, they’ve been launched on $200,000 bond apiece.

“We’re still in the afterglow,” mentioned Michael Earnest, Martens’ brother-in-law. “It’s an indescribable moment. Tom had not seen his wife since before COVID. Had not seen her period. He had a grandchild while in prison and not seen her.”

Self-defense claims

An govt in the packaging business, Jason Corbett had relocated from Ireland to North Carolina along with his American spouse, Molly, and two kids from a earlier marriage. Formerly a nanny, Molly Corbett turned romantically concerned together with her employer in Limerick and the couple wed in 2011.

Martens, a retired FBI agent, testified throughout a five-week trial, that he woke on a go to in 2015 to search out Jason Corbett choking his daughter and threatening to kill her. He described bludgeoning his son-in-law with the bat he introduced his younger boy as a present, and that Molly Corbett joined the bed room melee with a brick.

Jurors, unconvinced, convicted each of second-degree murder. Both Molly Corbett, now 37, and Martens, now 71, had been sentenced to 25 years in jail.

At trial, prosecutors provided Corbett’s want to undertake the kids — Jack and Sarah — and a hefty insurance coverage coverage as motive to kill, according to the Independent in Ireland.

“(Molly) Corbett had told a family friend that she wanted to leave him ‘because she did not love him any more and did not care what happened to him’ and that she had ‘reconnected with an old boyfriend on Facebook,’ “ the Independent reported. “She would not leave Mr Corbett, however, because she had no legal rights to her husband’s two children, it was alleged.”

But in a 55-page opinion for the state’s highest court docket, Justice Anita Earls detailed key proof jurors by no means heard.

For one, Earls wrote, jurors didn’t hear Jack Corbett, who was then 11, clarify why his mom had a brick on her nightstand. In that interview, the opinion mentioned, he defined that he and his mom had been working on a backyard mission and had needed to color the brick till rain stalled their plans.

Second, Earls wrote, Sarah Corbett, then 8, instructed DSS that she had a nightmare on the evening of the killing, prompting her mom to hurry to her bed room and making Jason Corbett offended to have been woke up.

Third, each kids mentioned their father had grown more and more offended and bodily abusive.

“Without evidence supporting their account,” Earls wrote, “it was easier for the jury to conclude that Tom and Molly had invented their story in an effort to cover up their crime and falsely assert that they acted in self-defense.”

Petition from Corbett’s household

Jason Corbett’s household has began a petition on calling for a brand new trial, which practically 10,000 individuals had signed by Thursday morning. On her Facebook web page, sister Tracey Corbett Lynch thanks the district lawyer for making the choice to attempt the pair once more, although no determination has been made.

“Even when the Supreme Court of North Carolina ruled by four to three majority that the jury should have heard those statements and that this was grounds for granting the Martens a retrial, our family retained its faith in the North Carolina justice system,” she wrote.

Earnest mentioned Corbett and Martens are in Tennessee ready for a choice on a plea or retrial, for which no timetable has been set. If a trial did occur, the COVID-19 case backlog would put it again not less than to 2022, he mentioned.

“Tom acted like a father that night,” Earnest mentioned. “I’m a father. I have two daughters. No father can imagine coming into a scene like that. I certainly hope I would do everything I could do to save my daughter’s life. That’s what Tom did. It certainly was a tragedy. Nobody wanted what happened to happen.”

Related tales from Raleigh News & Observer

Josh Shaffer covers Wake County and federal courts. He has been a reporter for The News & Observer since 2004 and beforehand wrote a column about uncommon individuals and locations.

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