Martens appeal for money to fund murder retrial costs

Molly and Tom Martens

THE FATHER and daughter convicted of murdering Limerick father-of-two, Jason Corbett, have had an online appeal launched on their behalf to fund their legal costs in a retrial.

The Janesboro businessman was found beaten to death with a baseball bat and a concrete slab in the bedroom of the North Carolina home he shared with his wife, Molly Martens, in August 2015.

Molly and her father, Thomas, a former FBI agent, were convicted of second degree murder but were released from jail on bail last year, having served four years of their sentences of 20 and 25 years.

The North Carolina Supreme Court upheld their appeal against the conviction last year, ruling that evidence from Jason’s children, Jack (16) and Sarah (14), who now live in Limerick, should have been allowed in the original trial.

The Martens family set up a fund five years ago to finance the appeal  against the convictions. Their aim is to raise $300,000 (€265,000) but to date have received just $31,076 (€28,000).

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Now Molly’s aunt, Mona Earnest, has posted  a plea for further help with the fund.

Meanwhile, Jason’s Limerick family said they have been overwhelmed by support in the US as they face into the retrial.

The appearance of the two children at a pre-trial hearing in Lexington on March 11 signalled that they would offer testimony to support prosecutors in the retrial.

The defence insists that disputed statements the children made to North Carolina social services in August 2015 should have been admitted into the original trial. The refusal of the judge to allow the statements was central to the Martens winning their appeal.

The judge ruled the statements as inadmissible because they were contradicted by later statements the children made after coming to live in Ireland.

No new trial date has yet been set but a hearing is scheduled for the courts in North Carolina in May.