Defense asks verdict be thrown out for Corbett Trial for jury misconduct

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LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Defense attorneys for both Molly Corbett Martens and Thomas Martens have filed a "motion for appropriate relief" in the trial that ended with a guilty verdict of second-degree murder for the wife and her father in the death of Irish-native Jason Corbett.

Judge David Lee sentenced them each to 20-25 years in prison.

Thomas Marten’s defense lawyer David Freedman says these motions can be common, and they have the right to file this within 10 days of a verdict.​

More than 40 pages were filed on behalf of the defense. The motion cites "misconduct" from some jurors and makes the argument that the trial did not have a fair and impartial jury. It specifically quotes one statement made by jury foreman Tom Aamland during a press conference after the trial.

"We didn't discuss a verdict, but in having private conversations, everybody, we could read that everybody was going in the same direction," Aamland said when asked about the state's closing arguments.

Lee told jurors multiple times not to discuss the trial with anyone. The defense claims they have a witness who says the foreman and another juror "immediately after court met privately in a Nissan" and the conversation lasted 10-15 minutes.

"You know anytime someone is convicted of murder and sent off to prison for 20 years, everything is looked into and you naturally expect anybody to grasp at any straw they can," said Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank.

Frank plans on responding with their own motion to reject the defense's motion next week. Lee will consider these allegations and decide whether it's appropriate to hold an evidentiary hearing and would then set a date if necessary.

"I believe that they did their job appropriately and fairly," Frank said, when asked about whether the jury did their duty to be fair and impartial. "It's difficult for people to sit through hearing evidence about an event like this and not develop some kind of passion and attitude about the case, and so you can't expect people not to be human."

The defense also filed several pages of the foreman's Facebook posts, one part in particular saying "we decided on 2nd degree murder for both, but feel Molly was the aggressor."

The defense argues Molly never took the stand and neither the state nor the defense argued Molly was the aggressor. The defense believes that conclusion was drawn outside the realm of evidence.

In another interview with the press, Aamland is quoted saying "I believe she (Molly) can control her personalities, whether it's bipolar or whatever."

Another juror, Nancy Perez, told the same media outlet "I think Molly is a person that has not been ever held accountable for any actions whatsoever. I think Molly was daddy's princess, just like every girl in daddy's eyes. I feel Molly was very manipulative."

Jurors also made implications they were watching Molly's reaction to certain elements in the trial, which the defense argues doesn't count as evidence.

The defense argues these opinions were formed outside the evidence as "neither the state nor the defendant presented any evidence regarding Ms. Corbett's character or mental state."

In a Facebook post on Monday, Aamland stated "any previous posts, statements, and/or theories are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any other members of the jury... The verdict was found by evidence presented in the courtroom only."

Meanwhile, defense attorneys have appealed the court’s decision, which will go to the North Carolina Court of Appeals before a panel of three judges.

Freedman expects the appeal to be heard sometime in the summer of 2018.​