A brother of Limerick man Jason Corbett, who was beaten to death by his wife and father-in-law in the United States six years ago, has said he has written to US President Joe Biden expressing his “dismay” at a decision by a District Attorney to offer his brother’s killers a plea bargain and a chance to walk free within months.
Molly Martens (37) and her father Tom Martens (71), a former FBI officer, were convicted by a jury in North Carolina in 2017 of second degree murder, and sentenced to between 20-25 years in high security prisons.
During their trial, the father and daughter claimed they acted in self defence and that Mr Corbett had attacked Ms Martens. However, it was heard there were no visible marks on their bodies when police and paramedics responded to the killing scene and that police had to warn Ms Martens several times to refrain from vigorously rubbing her neck.
The trial heard the pair beat Mr Corbett to death with a metal baseball bat and a concrete paving brick in the bedroom of the home he shared with his wife and their two children.
Last Thursday, the DA for Davidson County, Garry Frank, informed the Corbett family that he had offered the Martens a plea bargain to a lesser charge of manslaughter. Three weeks ago the Martens' convictions were quashed and a retrial was ordered.
The North Carolina Supreme Court had upheld a decision by an appeals court to retry the Martens after ruling that evidence which had not been allowed in the original trial meant the Martens did not receive a fair hearing.
The Martens have a week to decide if they will take the DA’s offer. If they do accept the plea bargain deal, they are likely to be freed within months, having already served almost four years in jail. However, if they do not accept the plea bargain they will face a retrial.
In a letter to president Biden, which was also sent to DA Frank and the Limerick Post newspaper, Jason Corbett’s brother, John P Corbett, stated: “I have stayed away from all the distasteful media over the past few years re the trial and brutal cold blooded murder of my dear brother, who only wanted a happy new peaceful life in North Carolina with his children when he moved there from Ireland, yet his life was taken by two cold narcissistic individuals.”
John Corbett, who works for the NHS in East Anglia, in England, continued: “I cannot hide my true sadness and hurt at hearing the news about Tom & Molly Martens being appeased and facilitated by the NC Justice system.”
“My many colleagues in the UK NHS health system where I work as a professional health staff member are also totally dismayed how two cold blooded murderer's are being gifted leniency by the North Carolina Justice system.”
“Two cold individuals who used weapons way beyond the reasonable amount of force necessary to kill someone (I have 21 years military service). Two individuals who did not have a scratch on them (in their obscene self defence plea). Some individuals would get five years in prison for theft.”
“We as a family, like any family in the world who have lost a family member to a brutal cowardly murder, would want normal justice. Sadly the justice system seems, in this case, to be working for the murderers, and not for the life they have coldly taken for their own narcissistic agenda.”
“It is a truly sad day as all eyes are on the inequality and injustice being played out at the moment in North Carolina.”
Mr Corbett thanked the US authorities “for at least keeping these cold arrogant murderers in prison for four years”, but he added, “it is truly a sad day for our family who continue to feel the hurt that the Martens have inflicted on us all, and Jason's two beloved children.”
Jason Corbett’s sister Tracey Corbett-Lynch who, along with her husband David Lynch, are legal guardians for her deceased’s brothers children Jack (16) and Sarah (14), said they were “devastated” at the DA’s decision.