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killers walk free Killers Molly and Tom Martens freed on bail but face full retrial for murder of Irishman Jason Corbett

But the 71-year-old father and his 37-year-old daughter will now face a full retrial for the second degree murder of Irish widower Jason Corbett (39).

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Molly Martens hugs her mother Sharon Martens outside the courthouse

Molly Martens hugs her mother Sharon Martens outside the courthouse

Molly Martens and Tom Martens

Molly Martens and Tom Martens

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Molly Martens hugs her mother Sharon Martens outside the courthouse

Killers Tom and Molly Martens have been freed from prison after they were granted bail by a US court in a bond set at €170,000 ($200,000).

But the 71-year-old father and his 37-year-old daughter will now face a full retrial for the second degree murder of Irish widower Jason Corbett (39).

It is a move his Limerick family warmly welcomed last night after a controversial plea bargain deal apparently collapsed.

Both had been held until now without bond in a North Carolina jail but their defence lawyers brought a bail application before a Davidson County judge after they won a landmark NC Supreme Court judgement last month which quashed their conviction for the brutal murder of Irish father of two in August 2015.

Mr Martens, a former FBI agent, and his daughter, a former nanny, are set to be released from custody after serving almost four years behind bars on a 20-25 year prison sentence for second degree murder.

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Molly Martens in court

Molly Martens in court

Molly Martens in court

They were set to be released within hours once the bail bond was confirmed.

One of the conditions of their being granted bail and released on bond is that they have no contact, direct or indirect, with the family of Mr Corbett and his two children, Jack (16) and Sarah (14).

A second condition is that both must surrender their passports and undertake not to apply for new passports.

Mr Corbett's sister, Tracey Corbett-Lynch, said it was a huge relief for the family that a retrial will be staged.

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Tom Martens in court

Tom Martens in court

Tom Martens in court

“We welcome today’s decision by Garry Frank, the District Attorney for Davidson County, 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," she said.

"We look forward to a date being set for a retrial at the earliest opportunity.

"Jason's death was caused by unimaginable, horrific and heinous violence. The depravity of others on that night changed so many lives forever.

"We strive to live in a society with morals, values and kindness. We cannot allow for executions in our homes. We have to stand together against those who think they are above the law, those who can cruelly inflict injury in the most heinous, barbaric way, enough to cause death ten times over."

She said the Martens have shown no remorse “just utter contempt for their victim, his children and his grieving family."

"For almost six years now, Jason’s orphaned children have had to listen to the Martens spewing self-serving lies on social media about their father," she said.

"When the children were aged 10 and eight, they were brought on the afternoon of the funeral service for their father to interviews with a social worker. They were coached and intimidated by Molly Martens into making false statements about their father in those interviews.

"Once they were safely home in Ireland and out of the evil clutches of Molly Martens, the children recanted those statements."

"The children are prepared to give evidence in a retrial and spent two days being interviewed by detectives in North Carolina last week."

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Molly Martens

Molly Martens

Molly Martens

She said they were grateful to the people of North Carolina who have been a “tremendous support” to the family since Jason’s killing in 2015.

They had shared the family’s public concerns about the prospect of the Martens being offered a plea deal to manslaughter instead of facing a retrial, she said.

"A lifetime won't erase the images of the torture Jason endured. A lifetime will not erase the physical and emotional scars left on Jason's children, Jack and Sarah. We face a lifetime of loss, but our only solace comes in knowing that justice will be served, and a jury will get to hear the truth of Jason's heart and the lies of his heartless killers."

Defence solicitor Jones Byrd, part of Tom Martens 2017 trial team, welcomed the bail ruling by the Davidson County court and said it was hoped the former FBI agent would be released from custody late on Wednesday evening.

The bond hearing attracted enormous media attention with a large contingent of US and Irish TV crews, journalists and photographers present.

A number of people also attended to show their support for the Corbett family including former work colleagues of Jason Corbett.

Had the father and daughter secured a plea bargain deal to voluntary manslaughter, they would have faced serving just two more years in prison.

Their high profile murder trial was staged over July and August 2017 in Davidson County Superior Court - located right beside the jail in Lexington, North Carolina where they were yesterday in custody.

Both would have served four years behind bars next August.

Any retrial is not expected before late 2022 with a major backlog of murder trials in North Carolina because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Martens family has already said that, when released, both would return to their homes in Knoxville, Tennessee "without fanfare."

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