Attorneys for former FBI agent, daughter convicted of murder allege juror misconduct
Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(LEXINGTON, N.C.) — Attorneys for former FBI agent Tom Martens and his 33-year-old daughter, Molly Martens Corbett, who were found guilty of second-degree murder last week, are attempting to have the convictions set aside because of alleged juror misconduct, according to documents obtained by ABC News.
A jury of nine women and three men delivered the verdict after less than four hours of deliberation, concluding that the father and daughter intentionally and unlawfully killed Corbett’s husband, 39-year-old Irishman Jason Corbett, beating him to death with a child’s baseball bat and a paving stone at the Corbett home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in August 2015.
The pair claimed self-defense and defense of others in Corbett’s death. During the three-and-a-half-week trial, Tom Martens took the witness stand, telling jurors he was staying at his daughter’s home when he was woken up by noises upstairs. Martens testified that he found his son-in-law, Jason Corbett, with his hands around his daughter’s neck, threatening to kill her.
Defense attorneys now claim in a motion, filed Wednesday in a Davidson County court, that “voluntary press interviews,” including one with ABC News Correspondent Linzie Janis, a post-verdict press conference by the jury foreman and “social media posts” of certain jurors reveal misconduct.
The motion alleges that the press interviews and social media posts show that the jurors were discussing the case among themselves both “prior to closing arguments and during deliberations, both inside and outside the courthouse,” despite explicitly and repeatedly being instructed not to do so by the judge.
The motion states that the jury foreman, Tom Aamland, made a statement during a press conference after the trial that he and his fellow jurors had “private conversations” that indicated how jurors were leaning in their decision ahead of the jury deliberation period.
Defense attorneys Walter C. Holton and David Freedman also allege that Aamland and one of the other jurors met in a parked vehicle for 10 to 15 minutes during deliberations. The attorneys are asking for a hearing to explore the content of that and all other “private conversations.”
The motion filed on behalf of Martens and Molly Martens Corbett accused the jury of forming opinions about Corbett’s character and mental health despite the fact that she never took the stand, allegedly violating her Sixth Amendment right to trial by a fair and impartial jury. The motion quotes juror Nancy Perez in her interview with Janis for ABC News’ 20/20 in which she said, “I think Molly is a person that has not been ever held accountable for any actions whatsoever. I think Molly was Daddy’s princess, just like every girl in Daddy’s eyes. I feel like Molly was very manipulative.”
The motion also describes what one of the jurors told 20/20 they believed happened the night of the murder. “Molly was the aggressor, striking her husband first with the paving stone while he was asleep in bed,” the motion states. The defense attorneys call that belief a direct contradiction to the court’s finding that there was no evidence of Molly Corbett’s being the aggressor.
The state has 10 days to respond to the motion. Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank tells ABC News, “We do not believe the motion, under our law, has any merit. We are preparing a response to be filed next week.”
Molly Martens Corbett and Tom Martens were each sentenced to 20 to 25 years in prison.
Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.