The killers of Limerick man Jason Corbett have been released on bail after a hearing in North Carolina today.
Molly and Tom Martens have been released on bail with a bond of $200,000 and banned from any contact with the family of Jason Corbett, the man they murdered in 2015.
They made a formal application for bail at a hearing at 2pm today local time (7pm Irish time) at Davidson County Courthouse, in Lexington, North Carolina.
This where they were tried in 2017 for the murder of Irish businessman Jason Corbett.
And it was to where they were being held in custody after being moved there from the separate high-security prisons where they were serving their murder sentences there last week.
Molly, 37 and her 71-year-old former FBI agent father were found guilty of the second-degree murder in August 2015 of Limerick widower Jason.
They beat the 39-year-old father-of-two to death with a metal baseball bat and a concrete paving slab while he slept.
However, they claimed they acted in self-defence after Mr Corbett tried to choke Ms Martens.
Despite this defence, the trial heard that when police and paramedics arrived at the house they found no visible marks on the father and daughter.
But their convictions were recently quashed after the courts ruled the exclusion of certain evidence and erroneous inclusion of other evidence in the original trial had prevented the Martens from presenting a full and meaningful defence.
On hearing the Martens were subsequently offered a manslaughter plea bargain deal, Jason’s sister said she was “devastated”.
Tracey Lynch, who won custody of her brother’s children Jack, 16, and Sarah, 14, described the news as a “bombshell” and said that she never imagined such a development would occur.
The plea bargain has been offered on condition they admit to Jason’s voluntary manslaughter.
If they accept the deal they are likely to receive a jail sentence of just under six years for voluntary manslaughter.
The pair have already served four years of each of their 20-25 year sentences.
Davidson County DA, Garry Frank is believed to have offered the Martens a plea bargain deal rather than seek a retrial, due to a backlog in criminal cases, due to Covid-19.
He had neither confirmed nor denied that the plea deal existed before tonight’s hearing.
Almost 8,500 signatures have been added to a petition launched by the Corbett family which seeks a “Retrial for Molly and Tom Martens”.
Tracey’s brother John Corbett, who works for the NHS in London, even wrote to US president Joe Biden expressing his “dismay” at the plea bargain offer to “two cold narcissistic individuals”.
The Corbett family issued a statement, saying: "We welcome the decision of District Attorney Garry Frank to seek a retrial of Tom and Molly Martens for the murder of Jason."
Jason Corbett’s sister Tracey Corbett Lynch, who has led her family’s campaign for justice for her late brother, said the Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank was now seeking to press ahead with a retrial of Molly and Tom Martens.
Tonight, in a statement Ms Corbett Lynch and her husband David Lynch, who fought a protracted custody battle with Molly Martens Corbett to become legal guardians of her late brother’s two children said: “We welcome today’s decision by Garry Frank, the District Attorney for Davidson County, to seek a retrial of Tom and Molly Martens for the murder of Jason Corbett, a loving, kind, father of two who was beaten to death in his own home.
“We look forward to a date being set for a retrial at the earliest opportunity."
They continued: "For almost six years now, Jason’s orphaned children have had to listen to the Martens spewing self-serving lies on social media about their father."
The children "are prepared to give evidence in a retrial, and spent two days being interviewed by detectives in North Carolina last week", the statement said.
“Today, Jason’s children have been given the chance to give evidence in a retrial, and they look forward to telling a jury the truth about the abuse they and Jason suffered at the hands of Molly Martens.
"A lifetime won't erase the images of the torture Jason endured. A lifetime will not erase the physical and emotional scars left on Jason's children, Jack and Sarah.
"We face a lifetime of loss, but our only solace comes in knowing that justice will be served, and a jury will get to hear the truth of Jason's heart and the lies of his heartless killers.”