Winston-Salem, N.C. -- Molly Corbett and her father, Tom Martens, are seeking to have last year's convictions overturned in the death of her husband.
- Irish businessman Jason Corbett was beaten to death
- A major focus of the appeal will be questions about jury misconduct
- Defense briefs are due on Sept. 13
Irish businessman Jason Corbett was beaten to death in a case that drew international attention.
Martens' attorney, David Freedman, says a major focus of the appeal will be questions about jury misconduct.
"Immediately after the verdict on the courthouse steps, the jury is out there giving a press conference saying how they had private conversations during the course of the trial," said Freedman.
Jurors are repeatedly told not to talk about the case outside of court.
"That's just a blatant disregard of the judge's instructions and a complete threat to the jury system," said Freedman.
Martens and his daughter, Molly Corbett, were sentenced to 20 to 25 years in prison after being found guilty of second-degree murder. Prosecutors say Molly's husband, Jason Corbett, was brutally beaten with a baseball bat and a paving stone. Marten's testified that he was defending his daughter from an attack.
Freedman says Martens wasn't allowed to talk about a statement from the father of Jason Corbett's first wife, who believed he was responsible for her death.
"The court looks at the state of mind of the defendant at the time of the incident and that clearly goes to what his state of mind was,” said Freedman.
The appeal also questions judge David Lee excluding statements from Corbett's children who were in Ireland.
"Those statements corroborated statements, evidence that did come in during the course of the trial, including Jason's comments to his therapist that for no reason at all he gets angry sometimes,” said Freedman.
Davidson County District Attorney Gray Frank says he prefers to do his talking in court, but he expressed confidence in Lee.
“The case was tried error-free,” said Frank.
The state Attorney General's office will be handling the state's response to the appeal.
Defense briefs are due on Sept. 13 with the state filing a reply in a month or two. The Court of Appeals could take up the case early next year.