The family of slain Irish businessman Jason Corbett (39) have been overwhelmed by support in the US as they face a nightmare of a retrial of his killers, Tom (71) and Molly (37 years old) Martens.
riends, former US colleagues and North Carolina neighbors of the Limerick-born packaging industry executive – who was beaten to death in August 2015 by his American second wife and father-in-law – practiced gathered to show support for the Irish family and his two orphans, Jack (17 years old) and Sarah (15 years old).
The two children’s appearances at a pre-trial hearing in Lexington on Friday – their first attendance at a trial over their father’s murder – dominated press headlines and TV news around the North. Carolina.
Both teenagers attended a Davidson County Superior Court administrative hearing before Judge David Hall in Lexington.
Their attendance was joined by Mr Corbett’s sister, Tracey Corbett-Lynch, her husband, Dave, and siblings, Dean and Adam, to demonstrate the Irish family’s unwavering support of Davidson County Attorney Garry Frank and his team.
It also signaled that both children would be willing to provide key testimony to assist prosecutors in their retrial later this year.
Neither Jack nor Sarah gave evidence at the first trial – although a mental impact statement, written by Jack, was made on his behalf during the sentencing hearing in 2012. 2017.
The prosecution team will be led by Alan Martin, Kaitlyn Jones and Marissa Parker at the retrial.
Evidence on the two children is now expected to prove crucial at the retrial as it will address the defense’s insistence that disputed claims the children made to social services in North Carolina in August 2015 was admitted as evidence.
The original trial judge, Judge David Lee, refused to allow the statements to be evidenced was central to Martens winning their appeal.
Judge Lee dismissed the claims as they completely contradicted statements made by the two children upon their return to Ireland in August 2015, just days later.
The testimony of both children is now set to prove crucial to prosecutors in a second trial, the date of which is officially set for May 23.
Mr Corbett, a widow, was beaten to death by his second American wife, Molly Martens and father-in-law Tom Martens in the bedroom of his Winston-Salem home in August 2015.
The duo were unanimously found guilty of second-degree murder after a five-week trial in 2017 and sentenced to 20-25 years in prison.
They were released after serving three-and-a-half years behind bars when they first won the challenge before the North Carolina Court of Appeals in 2020 and finally appealed to the North Carolina Supreme Court in 2016. last.
Mr. Martens, a retired FBI agent, and his daughter, a former nanny, claim they acted in self-defense when killing Mr. Corbett.
Both said they feared for their lives that night.
However, the two were completely uninjured at the scene while Mr Corbett suffered so many blows to the head from a metal baseball bat and a concrete slab that a pathologist could not count. be accurate.
Prosecutors also claim there is evidence that Mr Corbett was first beaten while sleeping in his bed, that an attempt was made to drug him, that he was beaten even in death, and that Tom was also beaten. and Molly Martens both delayed calling emergency services to make sure he was dead.
Mr Corbett’s family is adamant the murder was sparked by his determination to bring his children back to Ireland amid concerns about his wife’s increasingly strange behaviour.
He has repeatedly refused requests – including Tom Martens’ plea – to sign an adoption agreement that Molly Martens should have had equal rights with his children.
Ms. Martens met Mr. Corbett when she went to Limerick to work as a nanny for his two children.
They started a relationship and got married in June 2011.
Mr. Corbett moved his young family from Limerick to North Carolina after his Tennessee-born wife repeatedly complained of feeling homesick.
But just weeks after the wedding, Ms. Martens went to a divorce attorney to determine her rights to Mr. Corbett’s two children.
The pair are currently facing a high-profile US retrial where a North Carolina judge tried to thwart so-called “media exploitation”.
Judge David Hall issued a firm warning to both the defense team and the prosecution not to make any additional judicial comment to the media ahead of the pending trial.
Judge Hall noted the massive coverage the case has attracted – and warned that he is determined to make sure nothing is done to interfere with bringing justice and providing a fair trial.
The Martens and Corbett families both declined to comment to the US and Irish media following a pre-trial hearing in Lexington, North Carolina following Judge Hall’s scathing comments.
However, the Irish family was deeply moved by the scale of support shown to them last week in North Carolina.
The family was completely “overwhelmed” by the invitations, calls for support and solidarity from Jason Corbett’s old friends and work colleagues.
That even extends to two members of the 2017 jury that convicted Tom and Molly Martens attending Friday’s hearing to show their personal solidarity with Corbetts.
After the hearing, former grand jury director Tom Aamland and juror Nancy Perez greeted members of the Corbett family outside the courthouse and embraced them.
The Irish family – while touched by the level of support they showed – were disappointed that the retrial will now not proceed as originally scheduled for May/June.
Both Jack and Sarah are facing important exam years in Irish high schools, and their families don’t want their education disrupted by a lengthy retrial in North Carolina into the new school year. 2022/2023.
While a retrial date will not be agreed between prosecutors and the defense team until May 23, it is not expected to be held before late summer or early fall.
Because of the significant new evidence that could be included, the retrial is expected to last seven weeks or so.
https://www.independent.ie/news/family-of-murdered-irish-businessman-jason-corbett-overwhelmed-by-support-in-the-us-41441536.html Family of murdered Irish businessman Jason Corbett ‘overwhelmed’ by support in US