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Corbett killing Molly and Tom Martens' murder retrial expected to take place next spring

Molly Corbett and Thomas Martens were previously convicted of brutally killing Irish businessman Jason Corbett

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Molly Martens outside the courtroom in North Carolina

Molly Martens outside the courtroom in North Carolina

Molly Martens outside the courtroom in North Carolina

The retrial of Molly and Tom Martens, the convicted killers of Irish businessman Jason Corbett, is expected to take place next spring.

The revelation came as the Limerick-based family of Mr Corbett (39), a father of two and packaging industry executive, vowed to do everything in their power to support North Carolina prosecutors in delivering a second murder conviction.

Mr Corbett’s sister, Tracey Corbett-Lynch, has spearheaded a six-year campaign for justice since her brother was found beaten to death with a baseball bat and a concrete paving slab in the bedroom of his North Carolina home in August 2015

The Irish widower’s second wife, Martens (38), and her father (71), a retired FBI officer, insisted they acted in self-defence, despite both of them being found uninjured at the scene.

Their 2017 second-degree murder trial was told Mr Corbett had been drugged and attacked while he slept and had suffered such horrific head injuries that a pathologist could not accurately count the number of blows inflicted.

Mrs Corbett-Lynch said the family would offer whatever support they could to prosecutors for next year’s retrial, which is expected to take place in April or May.

“Our campaign will continue until justice has been done for Jason, and those who so cruelly took his life are held to account. We have full faith in North Carolina prosecutors and in the US justice system,” she said.

US prosecutor Garry Frank – the district attorney for Davidson County in North Carolina – indicated they now hoped to secure a retrial date for spring.

However, no date has been set for pre-trial motions or the trial itself.

The retrial is expected to take between five and seven weeks – longer than the five weeks of the original 2017 trial because Mr Corbett’s two children are expected to give evidence.

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Molly and Tom Martens

Molly and Tom Martens

Molly and Tom Martens

 

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Testimony from Jack and Sarah Corbett is expected to prove critical.

Both were asleep in upstairs bedrooms in their home at Panther Creek Court outside Winston-Salem in North Carolina in August 2015 when their father was beaten to death downstairs.

Tom and Molly Martens were both convicted of Mr Corbett’s second-degree murder after a joint trial in July/August 2017 before winning appeals before North Carolina’s court of appeal and supreme court.

Prosecutors have insisted a single trial should again be mounted.

Mr Frank said he believed any retrial would again be held in Davidson County where Mr Corbett worked, despite speculation the defence legal teams would seek a transfer to another part of the state.

There had also been fears the retrial could be stalled because of the death of Tom Martens’ lead defence counsel from Covid.

David Freedman (64) died from complications arising from the virus last summer.

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Molly Martens and Jason Corbett

Molly Martens and Jason Corbett

Molly Martens and Jason Corbett

 

Since their release last spring after spending more than three-and-a-half years behind bars, Tom Martens has lived at his home in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Molly Martens went on an extended US holiday with her brother, Connor, during which she visited Chicago and New York.

Tom and Molly Martens were sentenced to 20 to 25 years in prison after being convicted by the unanimous vote of a Davidson County superior court jury in 2017 of Mr Corbett’s murder on August 2, 2015.

Mr Frank has taken time to evaluate the North Carolina supreme court judgment, key evidential issues arising and the logistics of any proposed retrial.

The prosecutor said he was confident a second conviction could be secured in the retrial.

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