Man convicted of Jason Corbett killing denied release during Covid crisis

Citing his age and the threat the Covid-19 pandemic would have to him, Thomas Martens, a retired FBI agent, argued he should be released from prison and be kept under monitored house arrest.
Man convicted of Jason Corbett killing denied release during Covid crisis
Jason Corbett

The man convicted of killing Jason Corbett has failed in a bid to be released from a US prison.

Citing his age and the threat the Covid-19 pandemic would have to him, Thomas Martens, a retired FBI agent, argued he should be released from prison and be kept under monitored house arrest.

Lawyers representing Martens, 70, filed the motion to have him freed and to be kept at one of his son’s homes.

Jason Corbett, 39, a business executive and father-of-two, originally from Limerick, died from head injuries after a sustained assault with a brick and a baseball bat at his family home in North Carolina on August 2, 2015.

Martens, as well as his daughter Molly Martens Corbett, 36, were convicted of Mr Corbett’s second degree murder by a US court in August 2017.

Both are serving 20-25-year jail terms in high-security prisons in the US.

Defence lawyer David Freedman said that he filed the motion for his client's release with prison authorities in North Carolina, given Martens’ age and the threat the virus poses to him due to him being 70.

The short bond hearing was held at Davidson County Superior Court in North Carolina.

In a motion filed with the court, his legal team said the father of three, does not pose a flight risk and voluntarily would agree to house arrest at his son's home in Union County, North Carolina.

The Davidson County District Attorney opposed the application, arguing that prisoners serving sentences for murder should not be released as part of the current Covid-19 response.

Letters from the Corbett family were read out in court by Assistant District Attorney Leo Martens.

Jason's older brother Michael Corbett said that Mr Martens’ move was a “desperate stunt, using the coronavirus pandemic to try to get Thomas Martens - a convicted murderer - out of prison.

“People are dying worldwide because of it and his legal representatives are trying to use it to benefit their client.

“(This) is like an never-ending nightmare”.

Mr Corbett added: “It is another good day for justice when inmate No 1553797 Thomas Martens failed in his attempt to get released from Alexander Prison in North Carolina.

"The public can now feel safer. a convicted murderer will not now be set free. A big thank you to the attorneys who have continuously advocated for Jason.

"They have been relentless in their pursuit for justice and efforts to keep a convicted murderer behind prison bars where he belongs.

“We can not thank them enough. The judge saw through his attempt to get out of jail. We are delighted with the verdict."

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