NC man and daughter return to jail after court tosses conviction in murder of her husband

North Carolina news

LEXINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — Tom Martens and Molly Corbett are back in the Davidson County Jail after their conviction was tossed out, according to Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank.

They had been held in prison, but, because their convictions were vacated, the two were returned to the custody of the prosecuting jurisdiction, Davidson County. The two arrived at the jail Thursday night.

They are now back to the same point as they were when they were first indicted, and, just as they were at the beginning, they are being held with no bond.

RELATED: NC woman and dad awarded new trial after husband is killed, top court rules

Martens and Corbett were both convicted of second-degree murder in 2017 for the death of Jason Corbett. It was ruled they will get a new murder trial after the North Carolina Supreme Court said the pair couldn’t “fully and fairly present their cases” due to omitted testimony.

After the conviction was tossed out, the decision fell to Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank on whether or not he would try Martens and his daughter a second time.

Tracey Corbett Lynch and David Lynch, the legal guardians of Jason Corbett’s children Jack and Sarah, issued a statement claiming that Frank has decided to offer a plea deal and will not seek retrial.

Frank told WGHP that he does not discuss pretrial matters and will neither confirm or deny any plea offers. He added that a retrial is not off the table.

Frank faces a difficult decision due to the way the coronavirus pandemic has put a heavy backlog on every court system in the state.

“I’ve got a number of families, victims of homicides and other cases that have been waiting for their cases to be tried for a long time,” Frank said before the decision. “And we’ve been on an imposed sabbatical on that for the past year. The pursuit of justice is rarely easy and that’s the guiding star that we’re trying to keep our sight on for all of this and we’re here for the duration.”

Tracey Corbett Lynch and David Lynch, the legal guardians of Jason Corbett’s children Jack and Sarah, issued the following statement:

“We are devastated that the District Attorney for Davidson County has decided to offer a plea deal and not seek a retrial of Tom and Molly Martens who admitted killing Jason Corbett, leaving his children, then aged 10 and eight, orphaned. What does it say for justice in North Carolina that you can drug a father of two, then beat him to death with a baseball bat and a paving brick, literally crush his skull, and still escape a murder conviction?

What does it say for justice that you can escape a murder conviction so long as you have deep pockets and deep connections? Would Molly and Tom Martens have avoided a retrial if they weren’t wealthy with deep connections to the FBI? From the night of the murder, when Tom Martens, a former FBI agent, and his daughter, Molly, were driven back to the scene of the crime within six hours of their arrest and allowed to remove vital evidence from the scene – our family has had to fight a constant battle for justice for Jason. 

We are grateful to the detectives who listened to the truth about Molly Martens, and gathered evidence showing she was a dangerous, lying fantasist with a history of mental illness who drugged Jason with Trazodone sleeping pills that had been prescribed to Molly Martens two days prior to Jason’s death. The detectives provided ample evidence for the District Attorney to successfully prosecute Molly and Tom Martens for second degree murder in 2017. A jury unanimously convicted both. When the Supreme Court of North Carolina voted by a four to three majority to grant a retrial last month, they did so for two principal reasons. One reason was a technicality relating to blood found on the inside hem of Tom Marten’s boxer shorts, blood which showed Tom Martens had been standing over Jason beating him with a baseball bat from a height of less than two feet while Jason was on the ground. Though the other blood spatters on Tom Marten’s boxer shorts had been tested and confirmed as blood at the North Carolina State Laboratory the blood samples inside the hem had not been. On this basis, the Supreme Court said the blood spatter expert’s testimony should be set aside. The evidence still sits in police evidence bags, and would only require a retesting of those blood samples to allow this evidence to be used in a retrial. It is inexplicable to our family that District Attorney Garry Frank has chosen not to do this and not to proceed with a retrial. 

The second reason the Supreme Court majority set aside the unanimous verdict of the trial jury was because of statements made by Jason’s two children – then aged ten and eight – to social workers in interviews which took place immediately after a funeral service for their father – a funeral service Molly Martens banned Jason’s own family from attending.

Jason’s two children, now aged 16 and 14, travelled to North Carolina this week and spent days giving statements to detectives outlining how they were terrified when giving those statements to social workers because Molly Martens had perpetrated years of abuse of the children. The children told detectives how they had been coached and intimidated by Molly Martens into lying to the social workers. They had been compelled to lie and claim that they had witnessed domestic abuse in the house. The children were coached from the night of the murder in what to say when asked. The children recanted those statements once they returned to Ireland and were safe. This week they detailed for Davidson County detectives the long history of child abuse perpetrated against them by Molly Martens. The children also detailed for detectives how they saw key items of evidence – such as Jason’s phone and two of his computers – in Molly’s family’s possession in the days after the murder. These items were never found, as they would have proved that Jason was planning to return home to Ireland with the children. They would also have proved that Jason’s life assurance policy was changed a year before his death to make Molly the sole beneficiary. 

The simple truth is Molly Martens killed Jason Corbett to get his children. Today the District Attorney for Davidson County has let her and her father get away with murder.”

What happened to Jason Corbett?

Jason met Molly Martens when he hired her to be an au pair for his two young children after their mother died suddenly from a severe asthma attack.

Corbett lived in Ireland but married Molly Martens in 2011, three years after they met. They then moved to Davidson County where Jason had a job.

In October of 2015, Jason was beaten to death in his bedroom.

Tom Martens, a career FBI special agent, and Molly were convicted, though Martens has always contended it was a case of self-defense. He believes Corbett was going to kill his wife, who is Martens’ daughter, Molly.

Tom Martens says he was drawn to their bedroom when he heard Molly Martens scream and says he saw Jason abusing her.

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