special hearing Murderer Molly Martens' plea for retrial will be heard over video link due to Covid-19
A US Supreme Court will stage a hearing in January into a bid by prosecutors to keep Tom and Molly Martens behind bars for the murder of Irishman Jason Corbett.
North Carolina Supreme Court has scheduled a special oral hearing on January 11 to hear arguments from both prosecutors and the defence team on the appeal by father and daughter Tom (70) and Molly Martens (36) for a full retrial over their conviction for the murder of Jason Corbett (39).
Both were sentenced to 20 to 25 years in prison after being convicted of beating Mr Corbett to death in the bedroom of his North Carolina home.
The Limerick father-of-two was killed with a metal baseball bat and a concrete brick in August 2015.
A decision on the appeal is not expected before mid 2021.
Tom and Molly Martens secured a shock ruling, by a two to one split decision, at the NC Court of Appeals in February recommending their convictions be set aside.
Given the Covid-19 pandemic now raging in the US, the NC Supreme Court has allowed some oral hearings to take place remotely by video link.
Molly Martens had been a nanny to the Irish widower's children in Limerick before marrying him in 2011.
Tom and Molly Martens have urged the NC Supreme Court to order a full retrial and uphold the overturning by the Court of Appeal of their convictions for the second-degree murder.
The pair lodged a detailed submission to the NC Supreme Court last summer.
They argued they did not receive a fair trial three years ago because key material they sought to introduce into evidence was not allowed by the trial judge. This material was in support of their argument of self-defence and the state of mind that Mr Martens was in that night.
North Carolina prosecutors lodged their own legal argument urging the Supreme Court to reject the Court of Appeal ruling and uphold the original murder convictions.
The second-degree murder convictions were delivered by unanimous verdict of the Davidson County Superior Court jury.
Both father and daughter were convicted of battering Mr Corbett to death as he slept.
Mr Martens is a retired FBI agent, while his daughter suffered from a lengthy history of mental health problems.
Both insisted they acted entirely in self defence, despite the fact neither had suffered a scratch or bruise at the scene.
Mr Corbett's skull was so badly crushed that a pathologist could not accurately count the number of blows inflicted.
The trial heard an attempt had been made to drug Mr Corbett, that he was attacked while asleep in bed and was beaten even after he was dead.
Several rooms were left blood-stained. It was also claimed the pair deliberately delayed ringing paramedics to ensure Mr Corbett was dead when they arrived.
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