THE FAMILY of murdered Limerick man Jason Corbett have spoken of their shock at the decision to overturn the murder convictions of his wife Molly and father-in-law Thomas Martens.
Tracey Corbett and her husband David Lynch have said they are "obviously disappointed" in the decision by the North Carolina Court of Appeals to order a retrial in the case of the Martens, who were charged with murder in 2017 following Jason's death.
“We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the messages of support from Ireland, the United States and indeed from across the world following the North Carolina Court of Appeal decision last week, to order a retrial for Tom and Molly Martens in respect of the murder of our beloved Jason," the family said in a statement.
"We had not expected this decision."
Saying that they respect the Court of Appeals process and the law in North Carolina, the Corbett-Lynch family say they are "confident" the Supreme Court will uphold the pair's convictions for second degree murder, which would avoid the need for a retrial.
In the statement, the family offered their thanks to the people of Ireland, America and beyond for their messages of support since the news of the appeal broke last week.
"It really means so much to our family and we are so very grateful," they said.
"It is such a comfort knowing that so many people support & (sic) back us during this horrible time."
"Our family also knows that the truth will not change," the statement reads.
"We all know what happened.
"Jason was beaten around his head with a brick and baseball bat. Molly and Thomas Martens continued to beat Jason after he died. His two children were left orphaned as a result.
"Jason’s children, Jack and Sarah, had to be sheltered by police from seeing what the Martens inflicted on their father. The autopsy has not changed nor have the horrific details of Jason’s death.
"The Martens' total lack of injuries at the scene have not changed. The fact that Jason was drugged has not changed. Not once during the five week trial did Tom or Molly Martens offer any evidence of abusive behaviour by Jason prior to August 2nd, 2015-- when he was drugged and beaten to death.
"Tom Martens, who offered evidence in his own defence, is on record as saying he never witnessed or heard any abusive behaviour by Jason towards Molly in the previous four years of their marriage. The children recanted their statements. Molly Martens did not offer evidence in her own defence at her trial - but was perfectly willing to use US television to cast malicious slurs which she did not relate or substantiate from the witness box.
"She refused to give evidence. The actions of Tom and Molly Martens orphaned Jason's children by his beloved late first wife, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick.
"All of these facts remain the same. Jason is dead. We hope, trust and pray that the North Carolina Supreme Court will now see that justice is upheld.”
Molly Martens-Corbett and her father, Thomas Martens, were convicted of second-degree murder in 2017, but have always indicated they would be seeking a retrial.
The North Carolina Court of Appeal ruled last week that Molly and Thomas Martens were entitled to a new trial due to "a number of prejudicial errors apparent within the record".
Both second-degree murder convictions have been overturned, and the pair are set to face a fresh trial unless the North Carolina Supreme Court upholds the ruling.