Friday 20 October 2017

Molly and Thomas Martens plan to appeal guilty verdict as they begin 20 year sentence

  • Justice prevailed says prosecutor
  • Injuries were consistent with car accident
  • Father and daughter begin 20-25 year sentence in jail
Molly Martens-Corbett outside the Davidson County Courthouse. Photo: Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch
Molly Martens-Corbett outside the Davidson County Courthouse. Photo: Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch

Kathy Armstrong and Ralph Riegel

Molly Martens Corbett and her father Thomas Martens are planning to appeal their verdicts that they are guilty of the second degree murder of Irish businessman Jason Corbett.

Ms Martens Corbett (33) and her father, former FBI agent Martens (67) were both sentenced to 20 to 25 years in prison on Wednesday for the 2015 killing of Molly's husband Jason.

Davidson District Attorney Gary Frank said that the pair hope to appeal the verdict.

Speaking on Morning Ireland on RTE Radio One, he said: "In open court they gave a notice to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, which will review the case.

"We'll stand by and it'll probably take about 90 days or so to get the evidence together and then the parties will be briefed and at some point the Court of Appeals will decide if they want to hear all arguments and they will enter a decision."

The Limerick native died after being struck on the head by a metal baseball bat and a brick. Extensive forensic evidence was presented in court throughout the trial.

Davidson County prosecutors had claimed Mr Corbett was fatally attacked because he planned to move back to Ireland with his children, Jack (10) and Sarah (8), but without his second wife.

He had refused to sign adoption papers giving his US wife equal rights to the children.

Molly Martens Corbett walks to the Davidson County Courthouse. Photo: The Dispatch
Molly Martens Corbett walks to the Davidson County Courthouse. Photo: The Dispatch

His first wife, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick, had died of an asthma attack in 2006 when the children were both aged under two years.

Ms Martens Corbett was also the main beneficiary of a $600,000 life insurance policy on her husband.

Her father, Thomas Martens, admitted he disliked his Irish son-in-law and wanted his daughter to divorce him.

Mr Fox spoke about the gruesome nature of his injuries, saying: "I've been the District Attorney for almost  20 years and all my prosecutors are virtually career prosecutors, we've seen it before but these were particularly extreme injuries for an assault with a bat and a brick and that was a factor in the case.

"The medical examiner said these were the kind of injuries you'd see in an automobile accident or a fall from a high building."

He also said that he has been speaking to Mr Corbett's family "daily" throughout the trial.

He said: "I've been speaking to his family daily, they were very appreciative, a little apprehensive but I think after they saw the trial they knew we'd done the best we could."

Mr Frank admitted he wasn't surprised Ms Martens didn't testify during the trial.

Martens with Jason Corbett
Martens with Jason Corbett

He said: "Can't say I was surprised, maybe slightly, a lot of lawyers believe you should always put your client up but some don't.

"After my assistant prosecutor did a very good job at cross-examining Tom Martens, I can't say I'm surprised."

The unanimous verdict was handed down on Wednesday afternoon.

Both the father and daughter were immediately taken into custody, placed in handcuffs and taken to a holding area for sentencing.

The verdict followed a dramatic four week trial in Davidson County before Judge David Lee and a Superior Court jury of nine women and three men.

The jury had been deliberating on a verdict since 3.22pm on Tuesday.

Several jurors wept at the verdict was returned after three hours and 20 minutes of deliberation.

Ms Martens Corbett wept and cried aloud when the unanimous guilty verdicts were returned by the jury of nine women and three men.

Mr Corbett's family delivered powerful statements to the court, including a letter from his teenage son who said the American woman will always be remembered as a murderer.

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