Corbett trial shown evidence of hair in deceased’s grasp

Molly Martens and her father claim they acted in self-defence in Limerick man’s death

Police in Davidson County, North Carolina have released the audio of a 911 call made by Jason Corbett's father-in-law on the night of his death.

 

The trial of Molly Martens Corbett and her father, Tom Martens, heard evidence on Monday of the photographs and video images taken by police who came to the house where her husband, Jason Corbett, was beaten to death.

Ms Martens and her father are charged with second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter in connection with his death, on August 2nd, 2015, at his home in Wallburg, North Carolina. Both pleaded not guilty, claiming they acted in self-defence after Mr Corbett allegedly tried to strangle his wife.

Walter Holton, an attorney for Ms Martens, asked police Lieut Frank Young of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office why crime-scene investigators did not more diligently pursue her accusations of strangulation.

Lieut Young said he saw hair in Mr Corbett’s hand that was not entered into evidence by the prosecution. The defence then entered its third exhibit into evidence, a photograph taken by Lieut Young that, he said, showed the hair in Mr Corbett’s hand.

A picture of Mr Corbett’s hand was placed on the overhead projector, visible to those in the courtroom. At least one strand of hair appeared visible.

A discrepancy also occurred between Mr Holton and Lieut Young over whether markings behind Ms Martens’s ear were dried blood. Lieut Young referred to it as dried blood. Mr Holton asked why he believed it was. Lieut Young said it appeared to him to be blood and showed the jury at the request of Mr Holton.

Baseball bat

In testimony last week, Lieut Young presented the Louisville Slugger aluminium baseball bat and cement paver to the jury. He likewise showed the jury other evidence, including a red Izod men’s polo shirt, blue and white print ladies pyjamas, a gold men’s watch with a brown leather strap and a pair of size 34 boxers.

While discussing photos and video he shot, Lieut Young said he asked permission to take photographs of Ms Martens standing outside her home on the day of the incident.

Lieut Young took photos of her neck, and those photos were exhibited for the jury on an overhead projector inside the courtroom. Other photos from Lieut Young displayed the exterior and interior of the house, where what appeared to be spatters of blood could be seen throughout the master bedroom, bathroom and hallway.

Suspected hair and a piece of scalp on the bedroom floor was also shown last week.

Wendell Ivory, a body fluid examiner at the North Carolina Crime Lab completed DNA analysis of the red men’s polo shirt, boxers and pyjamas. He performed presumptive and conclusive blood testing on each of those items.

His laboratory report was admitted into evidence and published for the jury. Examinations of the items gave the chemical indication of the presence of blood. Further examination of samples gave conclusive evidence of human blood.

Items submitted to the crime lab were received by Mr Ivory on April 2016.

The jury also heard testimony from two other crime lab workers. Adrianne Reeve, a latent print examiner, and Melanie Carson, a forensic hair analyst, offered their own reports which substantiated Mr Ivory’s claims.

Ms Carson said out of 25 samples of hair taken from the cement paving stone, 12 hairs belonged to Mr Corbett. The remaining 13 did not definitively match either Ms Martens or her father. Ms Reeve also indicated no viable fingerprints could be centralised, or located, on the bat.

The trial continues.