The two sides of Molly Martens Corbett

Jason Corbett’s sister claims ‘real Limerick man’ had concerns about his wife

In an interview with American network ABC recorded before the verdict, Molly Martens Corbett and her father, Thomas Martens, recall the night of Jason Corbett's murder. Video: ABC 20/20

 

For more than a year Molly Martens Corbett posted messages to Jack and Sarah Corbett, the children of her husband, Limerick man Jason Corbett, on Facebook along with photographs of her with the children.

The public social media messages start five months after Mr Corbett (39) was found beaten to death in the early hours of August 2nd, 2015, at his home in Wallburg, North Carolina – fatally bludgeoned with an aluminium baseball bat and a garden paving slab. They end on St Patrick’s Day of this year.

The photographs include numerous old snaps of Martens Corbett with the children, of Sarah with her pet dog Boldy, of the children baking cookies and of getting dressed up for New Year’s Eve.

“You loved this day, HunnyBun. You loved that white princess coat, the flower petals, the puppies, the limo, the dancing . . .” she wrote, posting a photograph of her and Sarah dressed up.

In several posts, she includes a US phone number and email address hoping that the children will get in touch.

She had not seen the children since shortly after the killing of Mr Corbett. She lost a custody battle to Mr Corbett’s sister Tracey and her husband David Lynch who are raising the children in Limerick as their legal guardians.

“I will never stop loving you. I am sorry that we do not share our genetics,” she said on December 8th, 2015. “We shared our lives and I was the person chosen to be your mom. I was the person you called mom for eight years. You will always be my children. You are my heart and soul.”

She signed off several messages “Mom”.

The heartfelt, loving messages are in contrast to the bloody scene discovered two years ago at the home Mr Corbett shared with his second wife in Wallburg, North Carolina as described during the trial of Martens Corbett (33) and his father-in-law Thomas Martens (67), a retired FBI agent.

Father and daughter were found guilty of second-degree murder after a trial lasting more than three weeks. They had pleaded self-defence and the defence of the other, but evidence presented at trial showed the force sustained in inflicting the fatal head injuries on Mr Corbett went much further than protecting themselves. They had claimed that Mr Corbett had tried to strangle his wife.

“You don’t expect to see that much blood,” Sgt Barry Alphin, a paramedic with the Davidson County emergency services, told the trial.

One juror became ill at the sight of one of more than 100 exhibits shown at the trial graphically displaying Mr Corbett’s bloody, lifeless body and the impact of the injuries that killed him.

The native of Janesboro, a working-class area of Limerick, had been living in North Carolina for four years at the time of his death. He had secured a transfer with his employer, Multi Packaging Solutions, from the company’s plant in Limerick to its operation in Lexington, North Carolina, because his second wife, who is from Tennessee, had not settled in Ireland and was homesick.

Nanny

Martens Corbett first came into his life in 2008 after she moved to Limerick to work as a nanny for his children following the death of his first wife Margaret (Mags) Fitzpatrick after a sudden asthma attack. The couple became romantically involved and married in 2011.

On one of his last trips back to Ireland from the US, Mr Corbett had spoken of his dream of opening a Domino’s pizza outlet in Spanish Point, the seaside town in Co Clare that his sister Tracey called his “favourite place in the world”. He had wed his first wife in the Star of the Sea church in nearby Quilty.

“His heart never really left Limerick,” his sister Tracey Lynch told the Limerick Leader newspaper in December 2015. “He formed some really good friendships in America, but always missed Limerick. He was a real Limerick man – loved the rugby, loved the golf.”

Prosecutors had argued in court that Mr Corbett’s desire to leave the US for Ireland gave his second wife a motive for his murder. He had repeatedly refused to sign adoption papers for his second wife, giving her equal rights to the children that she considered to be her own. She had been anxious to adopt Mr Corbett’s children formally but he had refused.

Assistant district attorney Greg Brown claimed during the trial that a life insurance policy worth $600,000 (€510,000) Mr Corbett had held with his company, naming Molly as a beneficiary, was another motive.

Martens Corbett was painted as a fantasist in court papers filed in the Davidson County Court in Lexington and in transcripts of earlier court hearings.

Ms Lynch claims Martens Corbett had told a family friend that she wanted to leave him “because she did not love him any more and did not care what happened to him” and that she had “reconnected with an old boyfriend on Facebook”. She would not leave Mr Corbett, however, because she had no legal rights to her husband’s two children, it was alleged.

Ms Lynch had told the court that her brother had made a deliberate decision to retain his Irish passport and his children’s passports because of his concerns about his wife.

She claimed that Martens Corbett had a long history of lying, claiming that she had been an Olympic swimmer, a teacher, a foster parent to a six-year-old boy and a book editor.

Among the other allegations made against the Tennessee woman was that she drank alcoholic drinks during the day, including when she drove Mr Corbett’s children, and that she displayed erratic and sometimes violent behaviour, including against her stepson Jack.

Ms Lynch claimed in one court filing that Martens Corbett had told American friends that she had been penpals with Mr Corbett’s first wife and that she only learned of “this lie” at her brother’s wedding to the former au pair.

“Molly flipped out at the wedding and completely lost control and began screaming at Jason and at my husband,” said Ms Lynch.

‘Extremely possessive’

Martens Corbett is alleged to have told Ms Lynch that she was bipolar and that she had experienced numerous miscarriages over a number of years. She is also said to have engaged in self-harming behaviour, that she was “extremely possessive” of her stepdaughter Sarah and that she was obsessed with having her stepchildren call her “mom”. She had denied the allegations about her behaviour calling them “slander, harassment, lies and absolute utter corruption”.

In a Facebook post to her stepson “Jacko” in December 2015, she recalled him ordering snails in a restaurant and attending a show afterwards.

“I hope both of you are being nice to one another and that you know how much you are loved and missed,” wrote Martens Corbett.

“Wishing I could say, I love you. Mom.”

Her bail conditions prohibited her from contacting the two children. Now her conviction for second degree murder of their father deprives her of her freedom for at least 20 years.