A daughter and sister of Limerick man Jason Corbett who was killed by his father-in-law and his second wife have hit out that he was not named during a court hearing set for June of next year for a retrial to begin.
Molly and Tom Martens were convicted of the second-degree murder of the Limerick native and father-of-two Jason Corbett on August 2nd, 2015 in Panther Creek, North Carolina in the US.
His children Jack, then aged 10 and Sarah, 8, were in the house on the night he was killed.
A jury in 2017 convicted the Martens of second-degree murder and Judge David Lee sentenced each to 20 to 25 years jail time.
Three years later, the North Carolina Court of Appeals overturned the convictions, saying Judge Lee had made errors that were so prejudicial it denied the Martens a fair trial.
Now North Carolina judge David Hall has set a date for a retrial which is set for June 26th next year following a ruling on Wednesday in Davidson County.
Sarah, who is now aged 16 and who attended the court hearing on Wednesday with her legal guardians, Tracey Corbett Lynch who is her late father’s sister and her husband David Lynch. Her brother Jack, who turned 18 last Sunday did not attend due to being in his Leaving Cert year.
She took to Twitter following the setting of a new trial date saying: “So the person who murdered my Dad, abused me, shared all my images and my private notes to the whole world (via social media) is ok to do so but I can’t talk? Where is my protection? My freedom of speech? I will speak the truth about my life!”
Ms Martens had shared numerous photographs and notes made by Sarah in the aftermath of her father’s death on Facebook as she bid to keep her late husband’s children in the US.
Another sister of Mr Corbett’s Marilyn took to Facebook following Wednesday’s hearing adding: “With the disappointment of the re-trial set for 26th June 2023 and not a mention of Jason’s name at the hearing let's not forget this was a brutal and horrific murder of Jason Corbett.
“A loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend and work colleague to many.We miss you entirely through every day.”
The Corbett family had hoped that the retrial would be fast tracked and heard prior to Christmas this year. However, Judge Hall said there was a bottleneck in the court system caused in large part by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The late Mr Corbett’s children have given written statements to prosecutors on the events surrounding their father’s death. Evidence in the original trial from the children was not allowed to be heard by the court.
Ms Martens, first met Mr Corbett, a business executive, when she moved to Limerick from the US, as his children’s nanny as his first wife Mags following an asthma attack in 2006. She subsequently married Mr Corbett in 2011.
The company manager had refused to sign adoption papers allowing Mrs Martens Corbett to have custody of his children Sarah and Jack who were in the house at the time of the murder.
An aluminium youth baseball bat, that weighed less than half a kilo, was also used up to 12 times by Mr Martens, who claimed Mr Corbett had a stranglehold on his daughter Molly.
The bat was brought to the couple’s home as a gift for his daughter’s stepson Jack. The children have continuously voiced their feelings publicly against their step mother and step grandfather since their father’s death.