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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Murderer Molly is in trouble for breaking US prison rules

Molly Martens walks to court during her trial for murder
Molly Martens walks to court during her trial for murder
Limerick man Jason Corbett and his second wife Molly, who was convicted of his murder

Killer Molly Martens (34) has been cited for breaching strict prison rules in the high-security North Carolina jail where she is serving a 20-year sentence for the murder of her Irish husband.

It was the second setback in a matter of days for the former nanny who last Friday was told that her appeal against her murder conviction had been rejected by Davidson County Superior Court.

Ms Martens and her father, Thomas (67), a retired FBI agent, were both convicted of the second degree murder of Limerick dad-of-two Jason Corbett (39) in 2015.

Mr Corbett was battered to death with a brick and a baseball bat in the master bedroom of the gated community home he shared with Ms Martens, his second wife.

Davidson County Superior Court Judge David Lee rejected submissions for the two convictions to be quashed and a full retrial ordered.

Both the father and daughter had sought the retrial on the basis of what they claimed was juror misconduct.

Permission

Now it has emerged that Molly Martens has been "cited for an infraction" at the Southern Correctional Institution where she is being held.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety revealed that she was cited on November 21 for what was termed "unauthorised leave".

Martens is believed to have either left a supervised area without the permission of prison guards or did not report to a supervised area as required.

US prisons treat any unauthorised movement by inmates as an extremely serious matter.

It is unclear what type of disciplinary action she will face over the rules breach.

The incident did not involve Martens leaving the prison facility itself.

The former nanny, a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, was moved from the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women outside Raleigh to the Southern Correctional Institution, which is just south of Lexington, on August 30.

She is now in the regular prison population and has a projected release date of July 28, 2041.

Bizarrely, she has insisted that she be officially referred to in prison as Molly Martens-Corbett, refusing to drop the use of her murdered husband's surname.

Judge Lee handed her and her father sentences in the 20 to 25-year range after they were convicted by a unanimous verdict of the 12-member Davidson County jury of the second degree murder of Mr Corbett.

Molly and Thomas Martens now have only one legal avenue left to overturn their murder convictions - a pending case before the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

That will be entirely based on legal aspects of their four-week murder trial last summer.

However, it will not include new evidence and will be effectively decided on legal submissions over how the trial was conducted.

The appeal is not expected to be heard until the middle of next year.

Until now, the North Carolina Court of Appeals case was effectively suspended to determine whether the original conviction would be set aside by the lower Davidson County Superior Court.

Headlines

The pair were unanimously convicted of second degree murder by a Davidson County Superior Court jury of nine women and three men on August 9 following a four-week trial that dominated the headlines in the US and Ireland.

However, within weeks of their convictions they had challenged the verdict, alleging juror misconduct.

Defence legal teams had lodged detailed submissions to Judge Lee that certain jurors had ignored his instructions not to discuss the case before verdict deliberations began.

They also challenged elements of what certain jurors said in media interviews following the trial.

Judge Lee, after considering the matter for almost three months, rejected the defence applications and refused both to set aside the conviction and order a retrial. Full details of Judge Lee's ruling will be published this week.

Davidson County District Attorney's Office had vehemently opposed the Martens' challenge and argued that there were no legal grounds for granting their applications.

The pair's only hope of avoiding serving 20-year prison terms is to pursue their North Carolina Court of Appeals challenge.

Mr Corbett died from horrific head injuries sustained during a prolonged assault at the luxury home in North Carolina he shared with his wife.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, and prosecutors claimed during the trial that the father and daughter faked CPR attempts and then deliberately delayed calling 911 for help.

It was also suggested that Mr Corbett may have been asleep and helpless in bed when he was first attacked.

Crushed

The father and daughter claimed they acted entirely in self-defence. However, both were found to be uninjured at the scene. In contrast, Mr Corbett's skull had been crushed. The damage was so great that a pathologist said the number of blows could not be determined.

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