The defense attorney for Molly Corbett, who is on trial with her father, Thomas Martens, in the 2015 killing of her husband wants the pending trial moved out of Davidson County.
Martens, now 72, and Molly Corbett, now 38, were convicted in 2017 of second-degree murder in the death of Jason Corbett, 39, who was beaten to death inside his Wallburg home in August 2015. The N.C. Court of Appeals overturned the convictions in 2020, and the N.C. Supreme Court agreed in March 2021 that they deserved a new trial because the trial judge disallowed some evidence that might have supported their claims of self-defense.
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Molly Corbett’s attorney, Douglas Kingsbery, stated Thursday during a hearing in Davie Superior Court that family members of Jason Corbett continue to make public statements about the case in violation of a gag order issued by Judge David Hall earlier this year, including in a new book as well as interviews with radio stations, TV stations and newspapers in Ireland, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. Jason Corbett was from Ireland.
Hall said that all the local, national and international news coverage of the case threatened whether there can be a fair trial with an impartial jury, and defense attorneys have indicated that they plan to file a motion to move the trial out of Davidson County, the Journal reported.
Hall, a Forsyth County Superior Court judge assigned to the case, issued a more detailed gag order Thursday, the Journal said.
Kingsbery also said he would continue to pursue claims of self-defense, and he alleged that Jason Corbett killed his first wife, the Journal reported.
According to court documents, Margaret Fitzpatrick Corbett died in 2006 from a cardiac arrest stemming from an asthma attack, and no criminal charges were filed.
Another hearing in the case is scheduled for Jan. 9.
Martens, who is a former FBI agent, and his wife were visiting Jason and Molly Corbett and their children in 2015 at their home in Davidson County. During the original trial, Martens said he was awakened by an argument between his daughter and son-in-law and went to their bedroom with an aluminum baseball bat, where he found Jason Corbett attacking his daughter.
During an altercation between Corbett, Molly Corbett and Martens, Jason Corbett was killed. The autopsy report said he died from blunt-force trauma to the head from a baseball bat and a garden paver.
A medical examiner testified that Jason Corbett had been hit in the head at least 12 times and that his skull was crushed.
Martens and Molly Corbett said they acted in self-defense.
The N.C. Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court said that blood spatter analysis and testimony of the couple's children about past abusive behavior should have been allowed during the trial.
Corbett and Martens were released on bond in April 2021.
This article originally appeared on The Dispatch: Attorneys consider moving Corbett murder trial out of Davidson County