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plea bargain Tom and Molly Martens set to walk free after getting bail in bond set at $200,000 in US court



Tom and Molly Martens are set to walk free from prison after they were granted bail by a US court in a bond set at €170,000 ($200,000).

The father (71) and daughter (37) had been held until now without bond but their defence lawyers brought a bail application before a North Carolina court after they won a landmark NC Supreme Court judgement last month which quashed their conviction for the murder of Irish father of two Jason Corbett (39) in August 2015.

Mr Martens, a former FBI agent, and his daughter, a former nanny, are expected 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 and Tom Martens

Molly and Tom Martens

Molly and Tom Martens

They will be released once the bail bond is 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.

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

Their legal teams are now considering a controversial plea bargain deal which would allow them to avoid a retrial for the Limerick widower's murder.

If the plea deal is accepted, they will avoid retrial for second degree murder.

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Jason Corbett and Molly Martens pictured at a function in Ireland in 2009

Jason Corbett and Molly Martens pictured at a function in Ireland in 2009

Jason Corbett and Molly Martens pictured at a function in Ireland in 2009

However, if the plea deal is rejected, Davidson County prosecutors will proceed with plans for a full retrial on second degree murder charge.

Both have been held without bond at Davidson County jail where they were transferred from separate North Carolina prisons last week.

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

Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank had set a seven day deadline for the duo to either accept or reject a plea bargain offer.

The deadline was set for last night for a voluntary manslaughter plea to be given in relation to Mr Corbett's death.

However, it is understood the legal teams want to consider the plea deal with their clients once they are released on bail.

It is believed the District Attorney's office specified normal sentencing parameters for voluntary manslaughter of between five years and seven months and nine years in the event of a plea deal.

Under a minimum term sentence, the father and daughter would have faced almost another two years behind bars.

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 are now in custody. Both would have served four years behind bars next August.

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