Corbett murder trial: ‘You don’t expect to see that much blood’
Paramedics tell court they averted children’s eyes from scene where Irish man killed
Emergency responders called to the North Carolina house where Irish man Jason Corbett received fatal head injuries have described how they averted his children’s eyes from the bloody scene as they carried them from the house.
Sgt Barry Alphin, a paramedic with Davidson County Emergency Services, told jurors at Davidson County Courthouse in Lexington on Thursday that he was first on the scene after receiving a call to a cardiac arrest.
Upon entering, he said he saw lots of blood inside the dimly-lit master bedroom, at which point he realised an assault had occurred.
“You don’t expect to see that much blood,” Sgt Alphin said, who also indicated Mr Corbett exhibited no evidence of life at any time at the scene.
Sgt Alphin gave graphic testimony to jurors about the scene he encountered in the trial of Mr Corbett’s former wife Molly Martens and father-in-law Thomas Martens for Mr Corbett’s murder.
An overturned lamp, he said, served as the only light inside the bedroom. Unable to turn on an overhead light, the paramedics moved Mr Corbett’s body to better treat him.
When they reached the vehicle, Sgt Alphin placed his hands beneath Mr Corbett’s head in the process of attempting to restore life.
The prosecution admitted photographs into evidence that were shown on an overhead projector which depicted the area of Mr Corbett’s head where Sgt Alphin’s left hand slid into the skull. It was at that time he said he realised there was heavy trauma.
“I put my hand under the scalp,” he said. “My left hand went all into the skull.”
Cpl Clayton Dagenhardt on the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office said when he arrived he found Mr Martens inside the home with Ms Martens. Cpl Dagenhardt said Mr Martens was still wearing a shirt and boxers when he arrived.
According to his testimony, Cpl Dagenhardt and another detective went into the bedrooms of Mr Corbett’s children, Jack and Sarah, to move them to the downstairs basement. He said he found Sarah asleep in bed, woke her up and asked her to go with him down the stairs.
Sarah was said to be apprehensive of going to the basement so Cpl Dagenhardt said he asked her to close her eyes – in order to prevent her from seeing blood in the hallway – and carried her down the stairs.
After praising Sarah for doing a good job, he and a Davidson County detective left her with Sharon Martens, Mr Martens’s wife, and returned to complete their jobs.
Cpl Rusty Ramsey said he joined Cpl Dagenhardt in bringing the children downstairs, having carried Jack from his bedroom to the basement.
Cpl Ramsey echoed Cpl Dagenhardt’s testimony that they averted the children’s faces from the blood that stained the carpet in the home.
David Dillard, a former deputy with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, said his responsibilities included escorting Molly Martens to his patrol vehicle. He observed she was wearing pyjama apparel and did not observe any injury.
Mr Dillard said she was “making crying noises”, but did not see any visible tears. He also commented that she was seen rubbing her neck in a “scrubbing” motion before she was escorted to the home of her neighbour, David Fritzsche.
Mr Fritzsche, an accountant who lived next door to the Corbetts, said he considered Mr Corbett a friend. He said his family and the Corbetts often got together with larger groups from the neighbourhood for barbecues and the two men played on a local YMCA soccer team together.
He indicated he did not see any visible injury to Molly Martens.
Molly Martens and Mr Martens are charged with second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter in connection with an incident on August 2nd, 2015, after which Mr Corbett (39) was found beaten to death inside his home in Wallburg, North Carolina. They have both pleaded not guilty to those charges, claiming they acted in self-defence.
The trial continues.