NATIONAL NEWS

North Carolina woman and her dad complete prison sentences for death of her Irish husband

Jun 6, 2024, 12:57 PM

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The wife of an Irish businessman who was beaten to death in 2015 and the woman’s father were released from separate North Carolina prisons on Thursday after completing the tail end of their sentences for pleas to voluntary manslaughter.

Molly Martens Corbett left the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh on Thursday morning while her father, Thomas Martens, was released from the Caldwell Correctional Center in Lenoir, the state Department of Adult Correction said in an email.

They each served about seven more months behind bars after additional sentencing in November, soon after they entered plea agreements. The pair otherwise had been poised to go back on trial late last year, after the North Carolina Supreme Court in 2021 reversed their 2017 second-degree murder convictions and ordered a new trial.

The two are now subject to one year of post-release supervision, which will be served in Tennessee, correction department spokesperson Keith Acree said.

Corbett’s husband, Jason Corbett, died at the home he shared with his wife in a golf course community in Davidson County, about 110 miles (175 kilometers) west of Raleigh.

Investigators said Molly Corbett and Martens, a former FBI agent, used an aluminum baseball bat and brick paver to kill Jason Corbett, fracturing his skull and causing injuries to his arm, legs and torso. Defense attorneys have said the two were acting in self-defense and that they feared for their lives during a struggle. His death and the resulting legal fight received intense media coverage in Ireland, as well as an episode on a U.S. true-crime show.

Each had previously been sentenced to 20 to 25 years in prison for the murder convictions. They were released on bond weeks after the Supreme Court decision.

Corbett pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter on Oct. 30 and her father pleaded guilty. While a Davidson County trial judge sentenced them to spend between 51 and 74 months in prison, they served much less in part because of credits for their previous time in prison.

Jason and Molly Corbett met in 2008 when Molly Corbett worked as an au pair, caring for two children from Jason Corbett’s first marriage. His first wife had died of an asthma attack in 2006.

In ordering a new trial, the state Supreme Court pointed to omitted statements that the two children had made during a medical evaluation soon after the death that indicated their father had been abusive in the home. Prosecutors alleged the statements were not reliable and that both children later recanted. The trial judge excluded the statements from being entered into the trial.

Jason Corbett’s children spoke at last year’s sentencing hearing,

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North Carolina woman and her dad complete prison sentences for death of her Irish husband