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locked up New prison mugshots released of US killers Tom and Molly Martens

Father-daughter duo remain in jail pending a decision on their plea bargain offer

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Molly Martens

Molly Martens

Thomas Martens

Thomas Martens

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Molly Martens

New prison mugshots of killers Tom and Molly Martens have been released, as the father-daughter duo remain in jail in the US without bond pending a decision on their plea bargain offer.

The former FBI agent and his daughter are now discussing a deal which would see them avoid a full retrial for the brutal murder of Irish widower Jason Corbett in August 2015. A decision on their plea bargain offer is due within 72 hours.

Both have been offered a controversial plea bargain in which they were given seven days to admit the voluntary manslaughter of the Limerick father-of-two (39) who was beaten to death while asleep in bed.

They were transferred from separate North Carolina prisons to Davidson County jail pending charge once a NC Supreme Court mandate on the quashing of their August 2017 second degree murder convictions came into effect.

Since then, new mugshots have emerged of the two of them, which were taken last weekend. The photographs are the first mugshots of the pair since they were jailed in August 2017.

Molly, who is now 37, is pictured wearing a navy and grey prison sweatshirt, with her natural hair colour.

Tom, now 71 years old, is also wearing a navy prison jumper. He is clean-shaven, unlike his previous mugshot.

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Thomas Martens

Thomas Martens

Thomas Martens

Their high-profile trial was staged over July and August 2017 in Davidson County Superior Court - located right beside Davidson County jail in Lexington, North Carolina where they are now in custody. Records from the jail show they were moved there last Sunday.

Both are considering the plea bargain deal with their defence lawyers.

If they accept the plea deal, they will likely receive a five year and seven month term for voluntary manslaughter.

The father and daughter would then be transferred from Davidson County jail back to North Carolina prisons to complete their term.

Manslaughter sentences, with aggravating factors, can extend to nine years in North Carolina.

Having already served almost four years behind bars, they could expect to be released around March 2023 if a minimum term is applied.

The duo had been serving 20-25 year sentences for the second degree murder of the packaging industry executive.

If they reject the plea deal from Davidson County District Attorney, Garry Frank, the father and daughter will face a full retrial on second degree murder charges.

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

In a retrial scenario, both would be able to apply for release from Davidson County jail on bail pending their court hearing.

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

However, the Limerick family of Mr Corbett expressed outrage at the plea bargain offer and plan to take a legal challenge if the Martens accept it.

Under North Carolina law, victims’ families have the right to challenge any plea bargain deal if it is considered excessively lenient.

Mr Corbett's sister, Tracey Corbett-Lynch, said her family has been overwhelmed by the reaction of the US and Irish public to a petition launched over the controversial plea bargain deal.

"Jason's murder, our fight for justice and the challenges such as consideration of offering plea deals leave families such as ours powerless and suffering so much more than is necessary," she said.

The Corbett family launched a petition on www.change.org called 'Retrial for Molly and Tom Martens' which aims to garner public support for blocking the plea deal. It exceeded its 7,500-signature target within 72 hours.

The Davidson County District Attorney's office has also been flooded with objections to the plea bargain offer.

Ms Corbett-Lynch said it was not acceptable that a major factor in the plea bargain decision was the backlog of murder cases in North Carolina caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.


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