'Verdict needs to be set aside after misconduct of jury' - Martens team
Lawyers for the father and daughter convicted of murdering Limerick man Jason Corbett have filed court documents saying the verdict should be set aside due to alleged jury misconduct.
A motion filed late on Wednesday alleges that certain jurors gave press interviews and posted about the trial on social media throughout the proceedings.
After a month-long trial in Davidson Superior Court, North Carolina, Molly Martens (33) and her father Thomas Martens (67) were convicted of second-degree murder by a jury of nine women and three men.
Both were sentenced to 20 to 25 years in prison.
Father-of-two Jason Corbett was beaten to death with a brick, which was on his wife's nightstand in the couple's bedroom, and an aluminium baseball bat in his home in Panther Creek Court, North Carolina, in the early hours of Sunday, August 2, 2015.
The Winston-Salem Journal reported yesterday that their lawyers are now calling for the verdict to be thrown out.
"Post-trial, voluntary press interviews and social media posts of certain jurors portray juror misconduct throughout the proceeding that directly violates the court's repeated jury admonitions, North Carolina law and the constitutional protections afforded these and all defendants in a criminal trial," the motion says.
The judge repeatedly told the jurors throughout the trial not to talk about the case with other people, and to not watch or read anything on social media related to the trial.
The motion says that on August 8, after the jury ended its deliberations that day, the jury foreman and another juror "immediately after court met privately in a Nissan vehicle with a Carolina Panthers licence plate on the front," in a meeting that lasted 10 to 15 minutes.
Walter Holton and Cheryl Andrews, lawyers for Molly Martens, and David Freedman and Jones Byrd, lawyers for Thomas Martens, also allege that the jurors were biased during the trial.
They claim that one juror talked post-trial about the case on social media, mentioning that Molly Corbett was "delusional" and "how daddy and Sharon (the mother of Molly) enabled this non-human person".
Mr Freedman and Mr Holton said a judge should schedule an evidentiary hearing, set aside the jury's verdict and grant Mr Martens and Molly Martens a new trial.
No hearing has yet been set.