Molly and Tom Martens transferred to high security prisons today after release dates ‘wrongly calculated’

Molly (40) and Tom (73) Martens were sentenced for Jason Corbett’s manslaughter last monthThe duo hit headlines yesterday amid reports they were to be released after serving just four weeks behind barsNow, an investigation has been launched amid fears a mistake was made in calculating their release datesJason Corbett’s sister Tracey described reports of an early release as “an insult to his memory

Tom and Molly Martens: 10 Key Takeaways from the case

Ralph Riegel

MOLLY (40) and Tom (73) Martens are to be transferred to high security prisons today after embarrassed US authorities admitted a mistake had been made in calculating their early release.

A major investigation is now underway in North Carolina into how the parole board calculated that the father and daughter who beat an Irish widower to death with a metal baseball bat and a concrete paving slab could qualify for early release having served just one month of a seven month sentence extension for voluntary manslaughter.

The North Carolina Department of Corrections (NCDP) had confirmed that Tom, a former FBI agent and counter-intelligence operative, was due to be released on parole today while his daughter, Molly, was to be released tomorrow.

The revelation sparked outrage as it came just four weeks after the pair were sentenced at a high-profile hearing at Lexington in Davidson County for the voluntary manslaughter of Jason Corbett (39) in August 2015.

Both had already spent three years and eight months in custody on a second degree murder conviction which was later overturned by the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Mr Corbett's family described that resentencing hearing as "a character assassination" with the Limerick businessman's good name being attacked by defence legal teams in a bid to reduce the sentences for the Martens.

The early release confirmation sparked a furious reaction from the Corbett family and justice campaigners who described it as "a betrayal" and "an insult to the memory" of Jason Corbett.

Embarrassingly, the North Carolina authorities have now admitted that the early parole dates were confirmed on foot of inaccurate calculations.

Prison release details and parole controls are calculated by the Combined Records Division of the NCDP which is based in Raleigh.

These are then notified to NCDP headquarters which inform the relevant prison authorities.

In a statement released today, NCDP confirmed that the December 5 and 6 release dates for Molly and Tom Martens were "incorrect."

"After further review, the initial projected release dates calculated in response to the resentencing for Molly Corbett and Thomas Martens were found to be incorrect," it advised.

"The current projected release dates for both are June 27 2024."

"Corbett and Martens will be transferred to State prison facilities to complete the remainder of their sentences."

The father and daughter will be sent to separate prisons and will now spend Christmas behind bars.

Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank, who successfully prosecuted the father and daughter for second degree murder in 2017, admitted he was "surprised" at the early release date signalled for Tom and Molly Martens.

However, his office has no role in the calculation of prison sentences and parole matters.

When the early prison releases were initially reported, Mr Corbett's family initially believed it was a typographical error on the North Carolina Department of Corrections website.

The Limerick family admitted they were appalled by the proposed early release of his two killers after both had managed to secure a plea bargain deal to voluntary manslaughter having overturned a 2017 second degree murder conviction.

"Jason was the victim in all of this. We are now left serving a life sentence without him while his killers walk free," warned Mr Corbett's sister, Tracey.

Mr Corbett's children Jack and Sarah, who were left orphaned by his killing, admitted they were "appalled" by the early prison release.

Sarah was "heartbroken" - having warned the North Carolina sentencing hearing: "My father's life is worth more than just a few years in prison."

The Limerick family received no notification about the early release from any North Carolina justice agency - and were forced to learn about it from the Irish media.

Both were sent back to prison for a further seven months by Judge David Hall on November 8 following an emotion-charged two week sentencing hearing.

Had they been released over the next 24 hours, Tom and Molly Martens would then have been on parole for 12 months.

Tracey had queried why Mr Corbett's family were ever put through the ordeal of the sentencing hearing last month.

"Why on earth would you have a two week sentencing hearing where our family was literally put through hell - particularly Jason's two children, Jack and Sarah - only for the two killers who bludgeoned Jason to death without mercy to spend just four weeks extra in prison?"

She said her family were "devastated" by the news - and deeply hurt that they were not briefed in advance about it.

"We have always said we put our faith in the US and North Carolina justice system. We have received incredible support from ordinary people right across North Carolina. But we really do feel very badly let down by this.

"As a family, we were appalled to have to learn about the early release of the Tom and Molly Martens, killers of our beloved Jason, via the Irish media.

"We were left completely in the dark by all North Carolina justice agencies in whom we had put our faith and trust in for the past eight years.

"The release of Tom and Molly Martens after spending just one month extra behind bars is an insult to Jason's memory and our family.

"We cannot disagree with people who have described this decision as making a mockery of justice - and wonder why our family was put through the ordeal of a harrowing two week sentencing hearing for this outcome - to see Jason's killers behind bars for just an extra four weeks?"

Bizarrely, both father and daughter had been kept in custody in Davidson County jail - over three weeks after their November 8 sentencing.

Tom has an offender number of 1553797 while Molly has an offender number of 1552729.

The former nanny - who suffers from bipolar disorder - underwent a third psychiatric evaluation in recent months as she was placed on suicide watch in a North Carolina jail.

Mr Corbett, a Limerick packaging industry executive and a father-of-two, was beaten to death by the Tennessee father and daughter with a metal Louisville Slugger baseball bat and a concrete paving slab in the master bedroom of his North Carolina home in the early hours of August 2 2015.

Both insisted they acted in self defence after claiming Mr Corbett had attacked his wife.

The pair were found totally uninjured at the scene whereas Mr Corbett's skull had been so badly shattered that a pathologist warned he could not accurately count the number of blows inflicted.

Pieces of his skull fell out onto the medical table as he was being prepared for the post mortem examination.

Prosecutors claimed six years ago that Mr Corbett was first attacked while in bed and then beaten while helpless on the floor in an assault sparked by a dispute over control of his two children.

Earlier, an attempt had been made to drug him.

Both Tom and Molly Martens then delayed calling police and paramedics to ensure he was dead before they arrived.

Paramedics commented that the 39-year-old was cold to the touch when they arrived - and queried precisely when the fatal incident had occurred?

Jason’s son, Jack Corbett claimed that other members of the Martens family had engaged in a cover-up to try to protect Tom and Molly Martens - including ensuring police never located the Irishman's phone or laptop.

Mr Corbett's will had also been changed some time earlier - excluding his two children and leaving the entire benefits of the policy to Molly Martens.

The Corbett family insisted he was killed amid fears by Ms Martens that he was bringing his children back to Ireland for their protection and would then divorce her.

One psychiatrist, Dr David Adams, found that "the primary focus of her (Molly's) existence before she married Jason Corbett was to adopt these two children, then divorce him and then have custody rights of the two children."