Martens seek change of venue for Corbett trial

Jason Corbett
The late Jason Corbett

THE FATHER and daughter due to face trial in the US for the murder of Limerick father of two, Jason Corbett, are trying to have the trial moved out of Davidson County on the basis that media coverage will hamper their chances of a fair hearing.

Former FBI agent Thomas Martens (72) and his daughter, Molly Martens (39), are both facing a charge of second-degree murder. They are scheduled to go on trial in North Carolina on June 26.

Both deny the murder of the businessman in August 2015, claiming self defence.

Mr Corbett was beaten to death with a baseball bat and a concrete block in the bedroom of his home.

An original guilty verdict in their first trial was overthrown on appeal.

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Jay Vannoy and Jones Byrd, attorneys for Thomas Martens, allege in a motion they filed on December 28 that media coverage had a negative impact on the first trial and could potentially harm Martens’ chances of getting a fair this this time round.

On foot of concerns raised about pre- and post-trial publicity, David Hall, a Forsyth County superior court judge assigned to the case, issued a gagging order.

The Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina reported that Vannoy and Byrd allege that because of the extensive coverage and what they claim happened with jurors in the first trial, “there is no way they could receive a fair and impartial jury in Davidson County, and no way their constitutional rights as guaranteed under the North Carolina and United States Constitutions to due process and a fair trial can be adequately protected in Davidson County”.