Plea deal allegedly discussed in trial of Molly and Tom Martens

Tom and Molly Martens

A POTENTIAL new plea deal is understood to have been discussed in legal circles in the US in connection with daughter and father Molly and Tom Martens over the 2015 killing of Janesboro businessman Jason Corbett.

The two accused are due to go on trial for a second time over the death of Ms Martens’ husband, with the case scheduled for early November in Forsyth County, North Carolina.

A hearing regarding the case is expected to take place on October 30 in Winston-Salem.

Informed sources said discussions on a new plea deal may have followed some fresh evidence being put forward, reported The Irish Times, however The IT said it was not known if any plea deal had been agreed.

Earlier this year, the presiding judge imposed a gagging order preventing all parties involved from speaking publicly about the case without his permission.

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During their first trial, prosecutors accused Molly and Tom Martens of beating the 39-year-old Limerick packaging industry executive to death with a baseball bat and a concrete paving brick while he slept.

Prosecution lawyers had also contended that an attempt was made to drug Mr Corbett, who had moved to the States in 2011 with his two children, Jack (now 18) and Sarah (16), after the death of his wife and their children’s mother, Mags, who suffered a fatal asthma attack in 2006.

The Martens maintained that they had acted in self-defence, with Tom Martens claiming Mr Corbett had violently attacked his daughter, despite neither him nor his daughter sustaining any visible defence injuries at the time.

The North Carolina court of appeals subsequently overturned the Martens’ 2017 convictions and their 20-25 year jail terms for Mr Corbett’s second-degree murder.

The appeals court found the Martens’ trial judge made errors that denied both defendants a fair hearing. The state’s Supreme Court later up held the appeal and ordered a retrial.

Molly and Tom Martens were released from jail after serving three and a half years of their sentences.

Legal counsel for the Martens successfully argued that the retrial be moved from Davidson County – where the jury in the first trial found them guilty – to Winston-Salem, and that extensive social media comments about the case could have affected potential jurors in Davidson County, preventing the Martens from receiving a fair trial.

Mr Corbett met Ms Martens when she flew to Ireland to work as a nanny for his two children two years after the death of his first wife.

The Corbett family have maintained he was killed as he was preparing to leave Ms Martens and bring his two children back to live in their native Limerick.