DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. — 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.
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 NC 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 FOX8 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 remain viscerally opposed to the District Attorney for Davidson County, Garry Frank, offering any plea deal to Tom and Molly Martens who admitted killing Jason Corbett, leaving his children, then aged 10 and eight, orphaned. We have received widespread support from our many friends in North Carolina and members of law enforcement, all of whom are appalled at the prospect of the District Attorney not seeking a retrial for Tom and Molly Martens. All we are asking is that Jason be treated equally before the law, and that the Martens also be treated equally before the law and not be given any special privileges because of their financial resources or connections.
We have heard the District Attorney say that he must make his decision on whether to seek a retrial in the context of having other murder cases to pursue, cases which have been delayed by Covid-19. This is not a reason to devalue the life of Jason, and allow the Martens to escape justice for what they did. Jason’s children travelled, at the request of the District Attorney, from Ireland to North Carolina and they spent two harrowing days presenting new evidence of years of child abuse perpetrated against them by Molly Martens. They also gave eye witness testimony to seeing critical items of evidence – which were never recovered by police – in the possession of the Martens in the days after Jason’s murder. They also specifically and unequivocally denied there ever having been any incidents of domestic violence in their home.
We appreciate that the District Attorney has a difficult job to do, but we hold firm to our statement earlier this week, that a plea deal in this case is tantamount to letting the Martens get away with murder. Should a plea bargain proposal be presented to a judge in the coming days, we will be filing a motion, as is our right as victims of crime under North Carolina law, to be heard before the court to voice our fervent opposition to any such deal.”
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, Martens’ daughter, Molly.
Tom says he was drawn to their bedroom when he heard Molly scream and says he saw Jason abusing her.