Jason Corbett murder trial: Molly Martens and father found guilty
‘I’m really sorry, Mom,’ says Martens before getting 20-25 year prison sentence
The jury in the trial of a former FBI agent and his daughter accused of the murder of her husband, Limerick man Jason Corbett, has found them both guilty of second-degree murder.
Molly Martens (33) and her father Thomas Martens (67) were charged with second-degree murder in connection with an incident in the early hours of August 2nd, 2015, when Mr Corbett was found beaten to death inside his home in Wallburg, North Carolina.
Both were sentenced to a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of 25 years.
Under US criminal law, second-degree murder refers to intentional but unpremeditated killing.
Ms Martens addressed the court prior to her receiving the same sentence as her father.
“I did not murder my husband. My father did not murder my husband. The incidents of August 2nd happened as they happened on a somewhat regular basis. The only difference is my father was there.”
At that point, she started crying uncontrollably.
Mr Martens declined the opportunity to address the court.
Others were invited to speak before the court prior to sentencing, and Assistant District Attorney Alan Martin read a letter from Mr Corbett’s son Jack (13).
Mr Martin said Tracey Lynch was designated to speak for everyone in the family except for Jack.
“I will speak for Jack,” Mr Martin said.
“My father’s death has been life-changing for me,” the letter read. “My dad was always there for me, always cheering me on in sports, in school and everyday life... He won’t be there for me if I marry or have kids. He’ll miss everything. He won’t see me grow from a child to a teenager.
“I can never go to movies or pass a pass [when playing rugby] without feeling bad because that’s what me and my dad did. We are now seen as the family of the Irish man who was killed in his home… by a murderer named Molly Martens,” the letter continued.
“One thing she is not and never will be is part of the Corbett family.
“My dad will not be forgotten,” the letter concluded. “Molly Martens will also never be forgotten. She will be known as the woman who murdered her husband for no reason.”
The prosecutor struggled to maintain control of his emotions as he read the statement.
He was similarly emotional when he addressed the judge prior to sentencing earlier.
“There is no joy, there is no triumph, there is no pride,” Mr Martin read in a prepared statement on behalf of Mr Corbett’s family and the prosecution. “There is only grief.”
In her statement to the court, Tracey Lynch, Jason’s sister, said: “Jason was charismatic and kind. He was a very uplifting person… He worked very hard to provide for (Jack and Sarah).
“August 2nd will be imprinted in our minds for all the wrong reasons … as the day my brother was killed and his children orphaned.
“Our hears will never heal.”
Earlier, Ms Martens quietly sobbed as the verdict was announced.
“I’m really sorry, Mom,” she said through tears as her mother Sharon looked on.
Molly Martens exited the courtroom in handcuffs in advance of sentencing.
Thomas Martens remained expressionless as he exited the courtroom in handcuffs.
Those attending were cautioned prior to the announcement not to disrupt proceedings. Members of the Corbett and Martens family were in attendance, and wept as the verdict was delivered.
Several jurors also shed tears.
Ms Martens and Mr Martens hadboth pleaded not guilty at Davidson County Court in Lexington, North Carolina, claiming self-defence and the defence of another. A voluntary manslaugher charge was included as a lesser charge for the jury to consider on Monday.
Ms Martens decided not to testify in court while her father alleged that he acted in self-defence, claiming he had witnessed Mr Corbett with his hands around his daughter’s neck.
“I hit him until he couldn’t kill me,” he told the court.
Mr Martens said his wife Sharon Martens had remained in the basement bedroom while the alleged struggle took place.
For the prosecution, Davidson County Assistant District Attorney Alan Martin said “Tom Martens kept Sharon out of it because they had to keep their story straight.”
He suggested it is difficult to maintain the same story between two people, but for three, it would become nearly impossible.
In advance of the verdict, Judge David Lee told the courtroom to be silent. “I will not tolerate . . . any emotional outburst,” he said.
Judge Lee returned later, handing down 20-25 year sentences to the father and daughter.
David Freedman, defence attorney for Thomas Martens, announced after the conclusion of the case that an appeal would be filed. He expressed disappointment at the outcome, but said it was only one aspect of the judicial system.