Martens should have faced first degree murder charge

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Jason Corbett
The late Jason Corbett

KILLERS Molly and Tom Martens should have faced a first degree murder charge for the brutal slaying of Limerick man Jason Corbett in August 2015, their US murder appeal case has heard.

US prosecutors, who are opposing the appeals of the father and daughter, told the North Carolina appeal court that there was evidence to bring a first degree premeditated murder charge against them.

Widowed father-of-two Jason Corbett was beaten to death with a baseball bat and a brick.

Molly (34), who was Jason’s second wife, and her father, retired FBI agent Thomas (68), were convicted of his second degree murder and sentenced to serve prison terms of between 20 and 25 years.

The killers were in court last week to seek the reversal of their 2017 convictions but prosecutors argued that the murder convictions were fair, proper and fully reflective of the evidence involved.

After lawyers gave oral arguments in the appeal, special attorney general Mike Dodd said that “it appears to me there was evidence to bring a first-degree premeditated murder case,” adding that the case met all seven stipulations under North Carolina law for a first-degree murder prosecution.

However, a grand jury opted for a second-degree murder charge instead.

Last week, Tracey Corbett-Lynch, Marilyn Corbett, Wayne Corbett, Dave Lynch and Lynn Shanahan all travelled to the US for the appeal case.

Molly and Thomas Martens were not in court but members of their family were.

Lawyers for Molly Martens argued that the State attorney never challenged the former nanny’s claim she was acting in self-defence.

However US attorneys said that the trial judge and prosecutors acted both properly and fairly and that there were extensive brutal injuries to Mr Corbett, while there were no injuries to Mr and Ms Martens.

No verdict was delivered with the panel reserving its judgment until later this year.