THE family of a man violently killed in his home are hoping 2017 will finally bring them justice.
Jason Corbett from Limerick was found with fatal head injuries in the house he shared in the US with his second wife Molly Martens Corbett. She was charged along with her father Tom, a 66-year-old retired FBI agent, with one count of second degree murder and voluntary manslaughter by Davidson County District Attorney’s Office.
The pair formally lodged not guilty pleas over the death of the 39-year-old in Walburg, North Carolina, in August 2015. Martens Corbett, 33, was also ordered by the US court not to make any contact with Jason’s children – Jack, 12, and 10-yearold Sarah. In a post on the Bring Justice for Jason Facebook page, the Corbett family said: “Thank you each and every one of you for your continued love and support on Jason’s journey. “Our wish for 2017 is to see justice for Jason. It will never bring him back but those who committed this heinous crime should be held accountable for their actions. “We wish you and yours a New Year full of good health, love, joy and abundance. But most of all we wish for justice for Jason and peace for his family.”
THE widow and former father-in-law of Irishman Jason Corbett are to go on trial for his killing in the US.
Molly Martens and retired FBI agent Thomas Michael Martens are charged with second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. Jason, from Limerick, was found bludgeoned to death in the home in the US state of North Carolina he shared with Ms Martens, a former nanny to his two young children, on August 2, 2015. A post-mortem found he died from blunt force trauma and multiple cuts and skull fractures. Search warrants filed in the case revealed Ms Martens hit Jason with a baseball bat and a paving stone. The accused have claimed self-defence.
Prior to his death, Jason had sought to transfer $60,000 from North Carolina to Ireland, according to search warrants. Court documents also show that Ms Martens was trying to adopt his children but he refused to allow her to do so. After his death, a fraught custody battle ensued between Ms Martens and Jason’s sister Tracey and her husband David Lynch. Guardianship was ultimately awarded to the Lynch family after a practice legal battle, and the children now live in Limerick. A Star Wars fundraiser in Limerick last year raised thousands of euro to go towards the Jason’s Journey charity – set up by Mr Corbett’s family after they were hit with legal bills of more than €130,000 following the custody battle in the US. A source close to the Corbett family said they were relieved a trial date had finally been set. Meanwhile, in a statement last night, the family said: “We welcome the news that Molly Martens and her father Thomas Martens will go to trial on July 17, 2017. “The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.
PROSECUTORS in North Carolina have formally applied to jointly try the wife and father-in-law of Jason Corbett in July for his killing. The father-of-two was found bludgeoned to death in the home he shared with wife Molly Martens and his two children in Winston Salem, North Carolina, on August 2, 2015. Mr Brown stated that the charges they face were part of a ‘common scheme or plan’ and, as such, both parties should be tried together. The motion stated: ‘Each defendant has been charged in separate pleadings. The trial is expected to be held in Lexington Courthouse and will last two to three weeks.
Mr Lee will act as trial judge. The Corbett family declined to comment on the latest development in relation to the case.
THE father-in-law of slain Limerick man Jason Corbett has made a ‘shocking’ attempt to introduce evidence relating to the death of Mr Corbett’s first wife into the trial over his death. In a ‘statement of intent’ filed in North Carolina this week, lawyers for Tom Martens state that they intend ‘to introduce at trial’ statements made to their client by Michael Fitzpatrick, the late father of Margaret Corbett, Jason Corbett’s deceased first wife. ‘The content of the statements were that Jason Corbett had caused the death of Mr Fitzpatrick’s daughter Margaret Corbett,’ lawyers say. Family ‘shocked and upset’
Margaret Fitzpatrick, who was known as Mags, died in November 2006 following an asthma attack. Her father died last October. The Corbett family, preparing for a lengthy trial in July, are understood to be ‘shocked and upset’ by the latest development. The Corbett's and Fitzpatrick's have remained close since Mag’s death. In the wake of Jason Corbett’s violent death, his sister Marian and Mag’s sister Catherine gave several interviews attesting to the ‘loving, caring relationship’ Mag's and Jason shared,
In an interview with the Mail, Ms Fitzpatrick, who was living with the Corbett family at the time of Mags’s death, said there was no way her brother-in-law was a violent person. She said: ‘He never raised his voice, never raised his hand. Never.’
The claim has been made weeks after the prosecution accused Thomas Martens and his daughter, Molly, of using pre-trial submissions to make public claims that may not be accepted as evidence when they stand trial for the murder of Mr Corbett, Molly’s husband. The trial is due to be held this summer, and the pair is expected to argue that Mr Corbett’s killing was self-defence. Documents released by a North Carolina Court, last week, show that Mr Martens, 67, will claim that the late Michael Fitzpatrick — Mr Corbett’s father-in-law from his first marriage — had told him that he believed Mr Corbett ‘caused the death’ of his first wife, Margaret. A Notice of Intent to Introduce Statements, lodged with the Superior Court of Davidson County, states that Mr Martens intends “to introduce at trial statements made to the defendant by the late Michael Fitzpatrick, the father of Margaret Corbett, Jason Corbett’s deceased first wife.” The State of North Carolina rejected this, and claimed the Martens had used pre-trial submissions to make public claims that may not be accepted as trial evidence.
‘Victims of child abuse’ ‘Inflammatory and inadmissible’ MOLLY Martens broke down in a US court yesterday when a counsellor revealed her stepson said he had ‘negative feelings toward her’.
During evidence given by counsellor Andrea Huckabee, it emerged Jack Corbett told her he had witnessed abuse taking place in the home. Ms Huckabee had a 45-minute ‘therapeutic therapy session’ with Jack and Sarah Corbett – the children of Ms Martens’s late husband, Limerick man Jason Corbett, from a previous relationship – in August 2015. She said that in that session, Mr Corbett’s only son made a point of telling her that Ms Martens was his ‘step-mom’ and that his first mother had passed away. Ms Huckabee said Sarah had not disclosed witnessing abuse, but that Jack had. Yesterday’s hearing also heard from a paediatrician who examined Jack and Sarah after their father’s death – who revealed that she had diagnosed them ‘as victims of child abuse’
Both defendants were present in court yesterday in Davidson County, North Carolina, as were Jason Corbett’s sister Tracey Lynch and her husband David. The couple travelled to the US from Ireland on Tuesday ahead of the planned two days of hearings. Paediatrician Dr Amy Suttel gave evidence yesterday at the hearing relating to the admissibility of evidence in the case – and said she gave a diagnosis that both of Mr Corbett’s children were ‘victims of child abuse due to exposure to domestic violence’. Dr Suttel carried out a medical evaluation at the facility in the days after Mr Corbett’s death.
She added that she did not make any determination on who was responsible for the abuse. ‘That’s not my job,’ she said. Dr Suttel recommended that both children receive mental health treatment.
In later evidence, Detective Nathan Riggs told the court that he had arranged the appointment for the children to attend Dragonfly House. He said that another colleague on the case had been told by the children that they had a ‘secret phone number’ to call their grandparents in Tennessee in case of emergency. The court also heard from Ms Martens’s ‘closest friend’, who said her statements to police were fabricated by detectives investigating Mr Corbett’s death.
Shannon Grubb, who has only known Ms Martens since they became neighbours in 2011, claims she did not actually say what investigators recorded her as saying when she was interviewed. ‘It [the statement] said I didn’t believe her [Ms Martens],’ she told the court yesterday. ‘It was not what I had said.’
Detective Thompson was asked about details from a 911 call that appeared in the Irish media in the days after Mr Corbett’s death. Walter Holton, lawyer for Ms Martens, referred to a report that appeared in the Irish Daily Mail on August 18, 2015. Mr Holton claimed that according to the article, the paper was in possession of a police report that had been sealed by order of the court on August 3. ‘If the media was up at the sheriff’s office that morning [August 3], before it was sealed, then the media would have it,’ replied Detective Thompson. She told the court that police reports, once written, are a matter of public record in the county. In further evidence, Detective Thompson was asked what evidence she had to support a claim she made in a search warrant that Jason Corbett had moved a large amount of money from a US account to an account in Ireland before his death. ‘Interviews with people connected in this case,’ replied Detective Thompson. Tracey Lynch will today give evidence in relation to further statements that were made by both of Mr Corbett’s children upon their return to Ireland.