Jason Corbett’s alleged killers, his wife Molly Martens Corbett and her father Thomas Corbett, have won a retrial
Molly Martens Corbett and her father Thomas Martens, who were convicted in 2017 for the killing of Irish man Jason Corbett, have won an appeal and are set to receive a retrial.
On February 4, the North Carolina Court of Appeal ruled in a statement: "Although defendants raise 13 issues on appeal, many of which are interconnected and complex, this case is deceptively simple, boiling down to whether defendants lawfully used deadly force to defend themselves and each other during the tragic altercation with Jason.
“Having thoroughly reviewed the record and transcript, it is evident that this is the rare case in which certain evidentiary errors, alone and in the aggregate, were so prejudicial as to inhibit defendants' ability to present a full and meaningful defense.
“Moreover, the trial court erred in instructing the jury on the aggressor doctrine as to Tom, given the absence of evidence to support such an instruction. Because these errors are dispositive and warrant a new trial, we need not address the additional issues raised by defendants.”
The ruling to grant a retrial was not unanimous as one of the three appeal judges dissented.
In August 2015, Jason Corbett was found naked and brutally beaten in his and Molly’s bedroom in their Wallburg, North Carolina home. Two years later, Molly and her father were found guilty of second-degree murder and were sentenced to 20 to 25 years in prison.
The duo launched an appeal last winter claiming that certain evidence was omitted from the trial, and alleging juror misconduct.
The Irish Times reports that the Corbett murder trial will return to Davidson County Superior Court, where the original murder trial was heard, on February 24th. Prosecutors have 15 days from that date to lodge a petition to appeal the ruling by the three-judge appeals court to the North Carolina supreme court, or to have the higher court consider a discretionary review or the grounds for a rehearing of the appeal.
A spokesperson for the Corbett family said: "We are aware of the decision of the North Carolina Court of Appeals in relation to the retrial of Molly and Thomas Martens.
"We will not be commenting on the decision at this time."