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Legal battle builds in North Carolina murder case

February 25, 2020

By

Jason Corbett

 

By Irish Echo Staff

 

North Carolina’s state attorney general is moving to appeal a decision to allow a retrial of the convicted killers of Limerick man Jason Corbett.

According to reports, legal papers have been filed with the state’s Supreme Court formally requesting a stay on a decision by the court of appeals earlier this month.

Mr. Corbett (39), a Limerick father-of-two died from head injuries after a sustained assault with a brick and a baseball bat at his family home.

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Molly Martens, his second wife, and her father, former FBI agent Thomas Martens, were convicted of second-degree murder in 2017.

Earlier this month they successfully won an appeal seeking a retrial.

The father and daughter were convicted of the second degree murder of Mr. Corbett at his Panther Creek Court home in Davidson County.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld their challenge to the convictions – this to the shock and dismay of Mr. Corbett’s Limerick-based family, the Irish Independent reported.

Because the appeal was upheld by a majority rather than unanimous verdict it will go to the North Carolina Supreme Court for review, the report stated.

In such circumstances retrials typically follow.

The state attorney general would appear to have other ideas so a significant legal battle eould appear set to begin.

The decision by the three judge Court of Appeal panel followed an oral hearing in Raleigh.

Tom (68) and Molly (34) Martens battered the Irish businessman and father of two to death as he lay asleep and helpless in bed, the 2017 trial heard.

Daughter and father had been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the incident in the early hours of August 2, 2015.

Both pleaded not guilty to murder at Davidson County Superior Court in Lexington, claiming self-defense and the defense of another.

A voluntary manslaughter charge was included as a lesser charge for the jury to consider, but the panel instead opted for murder in the second degree.

During the trial the jury was shown the baseball bat and blood-stained garden paving brick used to inflict fatal head injuries on Corbett.

Mr. Corbett died at the home he shared with Ms. Martens Corbett, his second wife, at Panther Creek which is between Lexington and Winston-Salem.

He died from at least twelve severe blows to the head which had shattered his skull.

Both father and daughter argued self-defense and claimed that Mr. Corbett had attacked his wife and threatened to kill her.

Their contention was that Mr. Martens had struck Mr. Corbett to defend himself and his daughter.

However, according to reports at the time, both accused were found by Davidson County police and paramedics to be uninjured at the scene with no bruises, cuts, abrasions or visible wounds.

And pathologist Dr. Craig Nelson testified that at least one of the major blows suffered by Mr. Corbett was post mortem.

The guilty verdict was returned in August, 2017.

 

 

 

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