The highest court in a US state has ordered an oral hearing into a bid by prosecutors to keep the killers of an Irish father of two behind bars.
North Carolina Supreme Court will now schedule a special oral hearing to hear arguments from both prosecutors and the defence team on the appeal by father and daughter Tom (70) and Molly (36) Martens for a full retrial over their conviction for the murder of Jason Corbett (39).
A date for the oral hearing has yet to be confirmed but it is expected to be heard by November. Given the pandemic, the NC Supreme Court has allowed some oral hearings to take place remotely by video conference link.
Tom and Molly Martens have urged the Supreme Court to order a full retrial and uphold the overturning by the NC Court of Appeal of their convictions for the second-degree murder of the Limerick businessman.
The duo – who are currently serving 25-year prison sentences for the second- degree murder of Mr Corbett in August 2015 – lodged a detailed submission to the NC Supreme Court earlier this summer.
They argued they did not receive a fair trial three years ago because key material they sought to introduce into evidence was not allowed by the trial judge.
This material was in support of their argument of self- defence and the state of mind that Martens was in that night.
North Carolina prosecutors lodged their own legal argument urging the Supreme Court to reject the Court of Appeal ruling and uphold the original murder convictions delivered by unanimous verdict of the Davidson County Superior Court jury.
Both father and daughter were convicted of battering Mr Corbett to death with a metal baseball bat and a brick as he slept in his luxury home in North Carolina in August 2015.
Tom Martens is a retired FBI agent while his daughter, Molly, who was Mr Corbett’s second wife, suffered from a lengthy history of mental health problems.
Both insisted they acted entirely in self-defence that night – despite the fact neither had suffered so much as a scratch, cut or bruise at the scene.
In contrast, Mr Corbett’s skull was so badly crushed a pathologist subsequently could not accurately count the number of blows inflicted.
The trial heard an attempt had been made to drug Mr Corbett, who was attacked while asleep in bed. He was beaten even after he was dead.
It was further stated the father and daughter then delayed ringing for paramedics in order to ensure Mr Corbett was dead when they arrived.
Source: Irish News