Sunday 11 December 2016

Martens loses legal row over husband's belongings

Court orders Jason Corbett's widow to pay €4,900 for the family car

Published 13/03/2016 | 02:30

CHARGED: Molly Martens
CHARGED: Molly Martens

A US judge has ordered Molly Martens to return the personal belongings she took from the home that she shared with her slain husband, Jason Corbett.

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Martens (31) is charged with murdering the Limerick man, whom she married after becoming a nanny to his children. Mr Corbett (39) was found dead at the family home in Wallburg, North Carolina, last August.

In the latest bitter legal clash with Corbett's family, Martens was accused of taking most of the personal belongings out of the family home in January.

Last week, Davidson County Court found that although Martens claimed the items she took were hers, she did not provide evidence to prove it.

A court order allowed Martens to keep her clothing, bathroom toiletries, two lamps, a trunk, paintings, a coat rack, a mirror and other items. However, she was ordered to pay $4,900 (€4,400) to her late husband's estate for the Honda Accord or allow it to be sold.

The court also told her to produce credit card records and details of all the money transfers that Jason Corbett transferred to her or her parents since their marriage in 2011.

Court documents give further insight into the marriage of the operations manager from Janesboro and the former nanny to his two young children.

Molly Martens met Corbett when she became an au pair to his children after the death of his first wife. He agreed to move to the US in 2011, where they married in Knoxville on the banks of the Tennessee River in a wedding paid for by him.

According to court documents, Jason Corbett transferred $80,000 to Molly Martens and $50,000 to her parents to pay for their wedding expenses, including bridesmaids' dresses, tuxedo and a rehearsal dinner. He also paid $340,000 to buy the house.

The court heard that she did not earn any significant income and contributed a total of $10,000 to their joint bank account during their marriage. When he was killed in August last year, she owed $12,000 on her Visa card.

Jason Corbett was beaten to death with a baseball bat and a concrete paving brick, according to police reports.

In the days after his death, Jason Corbett's sister Tracey and her husband, David Lynch, dashed to the US to seek custody of Jason's two children from his first marriage, leading to a protracted custody battle that ended with the children being returned to Ireland to live with Jason's family.

Molly Martens and her father, Thomas, 65, a former FBI agent, were charged with his manslaughter and second-degree murder.

The Martens family portrayed Jason's death as a case of necessary self-defence.

Ms Martens was accused of removing "tangible personal property" from the house and putting it in storage in Tennessee, in breach of an earlier agreement with his estate.

The executors of Jason Corbett's will, David and Tracey Lynch, took a court action and claimed the only property left behind in the home was Jason Corbett's clothes, things he brought to the home from Ireland, and his children's belongings.

Under North Carolina law, Ms Martens will lose any rights to her husband's belongings if she is deemed to have killed her husband.

At a hearing in January, she claimed that the items taken were either gifts to her or bought by herself or her parents and had been charged to a credit card registered solely in her name. But the court found the bills arising from the card were paid for out of a joint bank account, largely funded by Jason Corbett.

Sunday Independent

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