Appeal fund for Martens amounts to ‘condoning murder’

John Corbett says people should instead ‘donate to relatives of murder victims’

Anyone donating money to an online legal appeal fund for Molly Martens Corbett and her father is "condoning cold, calculating murder", the eldest brother of their victim, Jason Corbett, has said.

Speaking for the first time since the conviction of Molly Martens Corbett (33) and her father Thomas Martens (67) for second-degree murder, John Corbett said the family's suffering was set to continue as an appeal was likely to be lodged.

The Martens family have set up a GoGetFunding website appealing for $300,000 (€255,000) to cover the family’s legal bills resulting from their trial and conviction. By Monday evening it had raised $13,984.

John Corbett, who lives in England, said that “anyone who donates to it are condoning cold, calculating murder and do not respect the law of the land in the US, and do not deserve to be called US citizens. They should donate their money to the relatives of murder victims in North Carolina.”


He said his 39-year-old brother died at the hands of “cold, unapologetic killers” and they would not wish what they have endured over the past two years on any family.

Mr Corbett said he believed the father and daughter should have been tried with first-degree murder, which potentially carries the death penalty.

Under US law, second-degree murder is intentional murder but – unlike first-degree – it is not premeditated or planned.

Martens Corbett and her father were sentenced to a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of 25 years after being found guilty of beating Jason Corbett to death with a paving stone and baseball bat at his home in Wallburg, North Carolina on Sunday, August 2nd, 2015.

"I personally feel they should have being charged with capital one [first-degree murder] and should have got the death penalty. They continue to show no remorse. I wish them eternal pain and suffering in prison," John Corbett – one of five brothers of the deceased from Janesboro in Limerick city – told the Limerick Leader.

“But we, as a very close family, can now find some form of closure and comfort knowing Molly Martens and Thomas Martens are in prison where they belong. We will finally mourn Jason and let him rest in peace with his beloved [first] wife Mags. We will continue to grow stronger in our integrity and love for each other, but we will never forget the Martens as a stain on society. From day one they have showed no remorse.”

Mr Corbett described his youngest brother Jason, who was born 15 minutes after his twin brother, Wayne, in February, 1976, as a “6ft 2in teddybear, who wouldn’t hurt a fly”.

He said Martens Corbett “always seemed a bit distant” to him, when she arrived into their lives to work as an au pair for the children, following the death of Jason’s first wife, Mags Fitzpatrick, from an asthma attack in 2006.

They married in Tennessee in 2011, where the Martens family is from, after she moved to Limerick in 2008.

“Most of the family advised him not to go to America and marry her,” he said.

Mr Corbett said the family “are very humbled by the amazing support from the people of Limerick and the US, and my colleagues here in the NHS in the UK”.

“I would also like to thank the amazing hard work of the District Attorney’s office and the Davidson county sheriff department,” he added.

Meanwhile, Thomas Martens’ brother-in-law Michael Earnest has defended the online call for donations to help fund a legal appeal. “I believe they were innocent, I believe they acted in self-defence,” he said on Monday. “They believe they did not commit any crime.

“I understand the Corbetts seeking justice and believing their loved one was murdered, but we believe the opposite, we believe the direct opposite.”

He said it would be unheard of not to pursue an appeal for a murder conviction, given the long 20-25 year sentences handed down. “It’s ridiculous, particularly when you believe they were wrongfully convicted,” he said.

He said his wife, Thomas Martens’ sister, had received an “unbelievable” amount of hate mail from Ireland after creating the online fundraising page for the legal appeal.

He added, however, that the family had received several donations towards the legal appeal from Ireland.