Some of the 12 jurors who convicted Molly Corbett and Thomas Martens of second-degree murder talked to each other about the evidence during the trial, according to an affidavit from an alternate juror. Judge David Lee of Davidson County Superior Court repeatedly told jurors not to talk about the case among themselves until after all the evidence had been presented and he had explained the laws that they were to apply to the case.
Brian Graham, an alternate juror, said in an affidavit included in court papers filed in Superior Court on Friday that he overheard jurors talking about the case during breaks and asking questions about the evidence. On Friday, attorneys for Molly Corbett and Martens filed documents supporting their earlier motion alleging jury misconduct, including Graham’s affidavit and a transcript of an interview that jury foreman Tom Aamland gave to reporters after the trial.
“At certain breaks during the trial, I overheard other jurors in the jury room and outside the courthouse commenting on the evidence presented or, in some cases, asking questions about the evidence,” Graham said in the affidavit.
Papers allege social media posts are evidence of bias against wife of Jason Corbett and her father.
Lawyers for Molly Martens Corbett and Thomas Martens, who were jailed last week for the murder of Irish man Jason Corbett, have filed for a retrial, alleging jury misconduct and bias. In papers lodged on Wednesday, the lawyers claim social media posts and media interviews by members of the jury after the trial indicate they were biased against Martens Corbett. They allege jury members held “private conversations” discussing theories on the case before retiring to deliberate on a verdict. In an interview on US TV network ABC following the verdict, jury foreman Tom Aamland said several members believed Martens Corbett had struck Mr Corbett with a brick while he was asleep, and that she had a mental health condition. “I believe she can control her personalities, whether it’s bipolar of whatever,” Mr Aamland said.
Defense attorneys for both Molly Corbett Martens and Thomas Martens have filed a “motion for appropriate relief” in the trial that ended with a guilty verdict of second-degree murder for the wife and her father in the death of Irish-native Jason Corbett. Judge David Lee sentenced them each to 20-25 years in prison. Thomas Marten’s defense lawyer David Freedman says these motions can be common, and they have the right to file this within 10 days of a verdict. More than 40 pages were filed on behalf of the defense. The motion cites “misconduct” from some jurors and makes the argument that the trial did not have a fair and impartial jury. It specifically quotes one statement made by jury foreman Tom Aamland during a press conference after the trial. “We didn’t discuss a verdict, but in having private conversations, everybody, we could read that everybody was going in the same direction,” Aamland said when asked about the state’s closing arguments. Lee told jurors multiple times not to discuss the trial with anyone. The defense claims they have a witness who says the foreman and another juror “immediately after court met privately in a Nissan” and the conversation lasted 10-15 minutes. “You know anytime someone is convicted of murder and sent off to prison for 20 years, everything is looked into and you naturally expect anybody to grasp at any straw they can,” said Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank. Frank plans on responding with their own motion to reject the defense’s motion next week. Lee will consider these allegations and decide whether it’s appropriate to hold an evidentiary hearing and would then set a date if necessary. “I believe that they did their job appropriately and fairly,” Frank said, when asked about whether the jury did their duty to be fair and impartial. “It’s difficult for people to sit through hearing evidence about an event like this and not develop some kind of passion and attitude about the case, and so you can’t expect people not to be human.” The defense also filed several pages of the foreman’s Facebook posts, one part in particular saying “we decided on 2nd degree murder for both, but feel Molly was the aggressor.”
A US judge has directed the legal teams for convicted murderers Molly Martens and her father Thomas Martens to have all motions in relation to their demand for a full retrial submitted by next Friday.
The deadline also applies to the Davidson County District Attorney's Office, which is challenging defence claims that there should be a full retrial over the killing of Irish businessman Jason Corbett (39), due to juror misconduct. Papers lodged alleged that jurors spoke of matters which had not been dealt with by the trial in subsequent interviews. Further, the defence papers have raised issues over contacts between at least two jury members before the verdict was announced.