The North Carolina Supreme Court upheld an appellate court’s decision to overturn the conviction an provide the opportunity for Tom Martens and his daughter, Molly Martens Corbett to get a new trial.
Martens and Corbett were both convicted of second-degree murder in 2017 for the death of 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, Martens’ daughter, Molly.
Tom says he was drawn to their bedroom when he heard Molly scream and says he saw Jason abusing her.
“We can all may say, ‘I’d do this, I’d do that,’ you know, ‘I’d do something different but that’s your daughter there and you see her maybe – if you don’t do something immediately, she’d be dead,” says Michael Earnest, Tom Martens’ brother-in-law and Molly’s uncle. He notes that Tom was trained how to deal with dangerous situations like the one he says he found Molly in during his days at the FBI. “One of things that’s come out of every law enforcement training: if you’re in a fight, you’re in a fight to win and you’re in a fight until the threat is eliminated.”
Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank has about three weeks to decide if he is going to try Martens and his daughter a second time. It’s not an easy decision with 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. And we’ve been on an imposed sabbatical on that for the past year,” says Frank. “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.”
Frank says if he does choose to try them again, it will likely be 2022 before it can get on the judicial calendar.