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Convicted killers Tom and Molly Martens win full retrial over murder of Limerick man Jason Corbett

Convicted killers Tom and Molly Martens win full retrial over the murder of Limerick man Jason Corbett.

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CONVICTED killers Tom and Molly Martens have won a full retrial over the murder of Irishman Jason Corbett.

Molly Martens-Corbett and her dad, former FBI agent Thomas Martens, were found guilty of murdering Corbett in the United States five years ago.

Convicted killers Tom and Molly Martens win full retrial over murder of Limerick man Jason Corbett
Molly Martens
Convicted killers Tom and Molly Martens win full retrial over murder of Limerick man Jason Corbett
Thomas Martens

The Limerick dad-of-two was viciously beaten to death as he slept at his home in North Carolina on August 2, 2015.

Martens and Martens-Corbett, married to the 39-year-old, were convicted of second-degree murder following a trial in 2017.

The pair appealed their convictions and said the judge excluded critical evidence, which they say would have supported their claims they acted in self-defense.

Molly and Thomas Martens’ lawyers also argued that statements Mr. Corbett’s children had given to social workers should have been allowed as evidence.

Last February, The North Carolina Court of Appeal declared each entitled to a new trial.

Today, the North Carolina Supreme Court ratified this decision and confirmed that the pair should have another trial, which is unlikely to go ahead until 2022.

EXCLUDED EVIDENCE

The court found that the exclusion of statements made by the Corbett children “deprived the jury of evidence that was relevant and material to its role as finder of fact.”

The ruling stated: “Therefore, we agree… this is the rare case in which certain evidentiary errors, alone and in the aggregate, were so prejudicial as to inhibit defendants’ ability to present a full and meaningful defense.”

A majority decision of four judges decided this to three on the Supreme Court.

One judge, North Carolina Chief Justice Paul Newby, pointed out that the evidence against the father and daughter in this case “was overwhelming.”

Jason’s sister, Tracey Corbett Lynch, who is now a legal guardian to his children Jack and Sarah, said that the family is devastated by the news and a second trial will be “torment.”

She said in a statement: “We are so disappointed and distraught that the Supreme Court of North Carolina has decided to grant a retrial to Tom and Molly Martens who admitted killing our beloved Jason – a father, a brother, a son, and a loyal friend – who is dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.

FAMILY DISTRAUGHT

“Neither of the convicted defendants has ever expressed remorse for Jason’s killing.

“They put his orphaned children, then aged 8 and 10, and Jason’s parents, siblings, and friends through the horrific ordeal of the first trial, all the while waging a vicious and unrelenting smear campaign in the media and the courtroom.

“We place our trust in the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department and in the District Attorney for North Carolina, both of whom recognized from the outset that Jason was the victim of a cold and calculated murder, designed to give Molly custody of Jason’s children, and the financial benefit of an insurance policy.

“Despite our disappointment at this decision, by a 4-3 majority, to grant the Martens a retrial, we retain our faith in the US Criminal Justice system and our confidence that a jury will once again find the Martens guilty of this “heinous, atrocious and cruel” crime.

“Our priority is to continue providing love, care, support, and protection to Jason’s two wonderful children whom we are blessed to have as part of our family. The family will not be issuing any further statements at this time.”

The duo has been in North Carolina prisons since their conviction for second-degree murder and served 20 to 25 years.

During their original trial, prosecutors claimed that Molly — who first met Jason after being hired as an au pair after his first wife’s death — and Tom brutally beat him to death with a 28-inch baseball bat and the paving brick.

CHILDREN’S STATEMENTS

The court heard that Jason’s skull was so badly crushed that a pathologist could not accurately count the number of blows inflicted.

The trial also heard evidence an attempt had been made to drug Corbett and that he was beaten even after he was dead.

The pair allegedly delayed alerting emergency services to ensure Jason was dead when paramedics arrived.

His two kids, Jack and Sarah, were asleep upstairs when he was killed.

Tom claimed he acted in self-defense and alleged Jason had been attacking Molly.

Jason’s two children made statements to North Carolina social services about the couple’s relationship.

But they weren’t allowed as the kids made statements in Ireland, which totally contradicted these.

They originally gave statements that suggested that Jason physically and emotionally abused Molly, which would have been used to bolster arguments that their dad was a violent man.

BLOOD STAINS

Prosecutors had sought to exclude those statements, saying they were not reliable because of hearsay.

But the appeal court agreed with the Martens that they were reliable. And the fact the children could not be forced to come from Ireland to testify made the statements even more critical, the court said.

A medical examiner testified Jason, who was found nude in their master bedroom, was hit in the head at least 12 different times, and his skull was crushed.

The appeals court also ruled that the judge should have excluded Stuart James’s testimony, a bloodstain-pattern analysis expert.

Mr. James found out the day before he testified that stains on the inside hem of Tom’s shorts and the bottom of Molly’s PJ pants were never tested to confirm that they were Jason’s blood.

Despite that, he testified that those stains’ location meant they were at or above Jason’s head when they hit Jason.

However, the appeals court said if the stains weren’t confirmed as blood, there’s no way Mr. James should have been allowed to testify about them.

And it said if the judge had not made that, and several other decisions, the jury might have ­rendered a different verdict.

Last December, Molly was punished for a fifth time after breaking prison rules.

She was reportedly found in close contact with another female inmate and disobeyed a direct order from the officer to immediately remove herself from the area.

Her previous infractions involved disobeying prison staff and possession of non-threatening contraband on February 5, 2018, as well as unauthorized leave from a specified area on November 21, 2017.