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murder retrial US official who rejected Molly Martens' bid for custody of Corbett children backs retrial decision

Former Davidson County Superior Court clerk, Brian Shipwash, has welcomed the decision to opt for a full retrial of father and daughter Tom (71) and Molly (37) Martens.

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Molly Martens pictured in court last week

Molly Martens pictured in court last week

Molly Martens pictured in court last week

THE US judicial official who rejected Molly Martens' bid for custody of her slain husband's two children has publicly endorsed the decision to order a full retrial for the two killers of Jason Corbett (39).

Former Davidson County Superior Court clerk, Brian Shipwash, has welcomed the decision to opt for a full retrial of father and daughter Tom (71) and Molly (37) Martens.

The retired FBI agent and his daughter, a former nanny, were released from prison last week after North Carolina Supreme Court quashed their convictions for the second degree murder of the Limerick father of two on August 2 2015.

Both had served almost four years of 20-25 year prison sentences before they won their appeal on the basis of claims their legal teams were unfairly restricted in arguing a case of self defence.

In August 2015, Mr Shipwash rejected Ms Martens high profile bid for custody of Mr Corbett's two children, Jack and Sarah.

Within hours of her husband's death - who was beaten to death while asleep in bed with a metal baseball bat and a concrete paving brick – Ms Martens had launched a custody battle for the children then aged ten and eight years.

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Molly Martens with her father Thomas Martens

Molly Martens with her father Thomas Martens

Molly Martens with her father Thomas Martens

After hearing dramatic evidence of Ms Martens history of mental health problems - and with the growing realisation that both she and her father were the focus of an escalating North Carolina murder investigation - Mr Shipwash awarded custody to Mr Corbett's sister, Tracey, and her husband, David Lynch.

At the time, Mr Shipwash ruled: "Jack and Sarah Corbett are citizens of Ireland - the parents of Jack and Sarah, I am almost certain, would want their children to be raised in the land of their origin where the culture, religion, customs and their extended family on both sides are prepared to nurture them in a manner that would be in the children's best interests.

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Jason Corbett with Molly

Jason Corbett with Molly

Jason Corbett with Molly

"The named guardians can provide that so after much legal research, deliberation, thought and prayer these children will return to Ireland."

In his will, Mr Corbett had specifically insisted that guardianship of his children go to his sister and brother-in-law - and not to his American wife.

The Limerick businessman had repeatedly refused to sign adoption papers granting Ms Martens equal rights to the children amid concerns over her mental health and bizarre behaviour.

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Mr Corbett's Irish wife and the mother of his two children, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick, died from a severe asthma attack in November 2006.

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Jason Corbett

Jason Corbett

Jason Corbett

He first met Ms Martens when she flew to Ireland to work as a nanny for the children in 2008. They married in 2011.

Mr Shipwash has now publicly backed the decision to opt for a full retrial rather than a plea bargain offer of voluntary manslaughter to the Martens.

"I would like to publicly thank District Attorney Garry Frank for making the decision to retry the case of the murder of Jason Corbett," he said.

Mr Shipwash said the decision clearly put the pursuit of justice over expediency.

"Garry Frank had no control over the bond but he had full control over the decision to offer a plea or a new trial - thank you!

"This will take time to resolve - and them (Martens) walking free burns the conscience of those closely related (to Mr Corbett).

"But justice will be finalised in God's time. Covid-19 has set out courts back for more than a year and will alter outcomes in favour of some defendants in lower crimes just to get control.

"America's justice system is not perfect but it is designed to let a guilty person go free before an innocent person is found guilty.

"Only if you are placed in the position of being charged and innocent can you appreciate this concept.

"God bless the journey and ultimately the path to a second conviction."



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