Jason Corbett killing: wife and father-in-law ‘to plead self defence’

Uncle says his niece and her father expected to argue actions were necessary and justified

Limerick man Jason Corbett and his wife Molly Martens Corbett. Ms Martens and her father  Thomas Michael Martens  have been charged in connection with Mr Corbett’s death in August 2015.

Limerick man Jason Corbett and his wife Molly Martens Corbett. Ms Martens and her father Thomas Michael Martens have been charged in connection with Mr Corbett’s death in August 2015.

 

The wife and father-in-law charged in connection with the death of Limerick man Jason Corbett are expected to plead self-defence, a family member has said.

Mr Corbett (39), was found dead at his home in Panther Creek, Wallburg in North Carolina following what authorities described at the time as a domestic disturbance in August 2015.

Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank told The Irish Times the County Grand Jury had indicted Molly Martens Corbett (31) and her father, Thomas Michael Martens (65) with second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter charges in connection with the killing of Mr Corbett.

He said both would be brought before Davidson County Superior Court in the coming days where they would be formally charged and the terms for their pre-trial release would be decided.

A date would also be set for their next court appearance, he said.

Mike Earnest, the uncle of Ms Martens, told Newstalk Breakfast on Tuesday he expected Ms Martens and her father to plead self-defence. It is anticipated they will contend that their actions were necessary and justified.

Mr Earnest said he was making the statement on behalf of the Martens family.

Ms Martens and her father are not in custody. It is understood they are staying in Tennessee and would hand themselves into authorities in the coming days.

A spokesperson for the Corbett family said members of the family had travelled to the US to hear the grand jury indictment.

The spokesperson added the family was unhappy that the Martens had not been placed in custody.

“They have not even arrested them. The charges were made known to them through their attorneys,” the source said.

Early on Sunday, August 2nd last, Mr Corbett was found with fatal head injuries at the home he shared with his second wife, Ms Martens, and his two children from a first marriage, Jack (10) and Sarah (8).

Police were called to the house at Panther Creek Court, at 3.04am, in response to a domestic disturbance.

The 911 dispatcher was told by a “complainant in the call” - Mr Corbett’s father-in-law, Mr Martens, a retired FBI agent - that “he had been in an argument with his son-in-law and that he had struck him with a baseball bat”, according to the police incident report.

Following Mr Corbett’s death his wife initiated a custody battle for his two children which she lost. Mr Corbett had appointed his sister Tracey Lynch as guardian to his children following the death of his first wife Mags in 2006 of an asthma attack.

US courts granted custody of the children to Ms Lynch and her husband David.

Mr Corbett was buried with his first wife at Limerick’s Castlemungret cemetery on August 25th last after his children arrived back in Ireland.