Sunday 19 November 2017

Anatomy of a brutal killing... the brick, the baseball bat and the blood

Thomas Martens
Thomas Martens

1. Thomas Martens's presence in the home: Thomas Martens lived in Tennessee, some five hours away from the home that Jason Corbett shared with Molly Martens Corbett.

He arrived for an unplanned Saturday night visit, after a flurry of phone calls between Martens Corbett and her parents, despite being expected at work on the Monday morning. What was discussed on the phone remains unclear.

2. Molly's screams/no injuries

Martens claims he woke in the middle of the night to find Mr Corbett strangling his daughter. However, she refused a medical assessment at a nearby hospital after police arrived. A witness told the court that Martens Corbett was "rubbing her neck in a scrubbing motion". A paramedic attending the scene said they saw light redness on her neck but no abnormalities.

3. Trazodone sedative

The district attorney's office revealed that traces of a powerful sleep medication, trazodone, were found in Mr Corbett's blood stream. A nurse, Katie Wingate-Scott of the KPC health centre, confirmed to the trial that Martens Corbett was prescribed Trazodone in 50mg doses on July 30 - three days before her husband's death.

The brick used in the murder
The brick used in the murder

4. The brick

A brick Martens Corbett used to hit her husband was shown to jurors. It was covered with blood on both sides. A forensic expert told the court it was used to strike Mr Corbett more than once with excessive force. Martens Corbett said she had kept the brick on her night stand before the attack but did not say why it was in the bedroom.

5. The baseball bat

Martens said he struck Mr Corbett with a baseball bat he brought to the house that evening: "I hit him until he couldn't kill me." It was in the guest room where he was sleeping before he brought it upstairs after hearing a loud noise. The black 'Louisville Slugger' bat was 28 inches long and made of aluminium. Martens brought it to the house as a gift for Mr Corbett's son but it was not given to him. It had previously belonged to his own son, Stewart.

6. Bloodstains on Jason's bed

Forensic expert Stuart James told the court that bloodstains on the bed sheets showed Mr Corbett was struck there. He found blood spatters on the inside of the quilt on the bed, in addition to blood saturation marks inside the mattress. "It may well be where the bloodshed first occurred," he said.

7. Blood spatter

An analysis of the blood spatter patterns around the bedroom showed Mr Corbett was struck on the head while falling and while he was on, or close to, the ground. Stains found on the inside hem of Martens's boxer shorts were said to have travelled upwards and indicated that Mr Corbett was below them when he was struck on the head. Similar patterns were discovered on Martens Corbett's pyjamas.

8. The 911 call

Prosecutors claimed a 911 call after the killing was delayed and said Martens Corbett and her father engaged in fake CPR efforts. The dispatcher who took the call said she was surprised at how calm Martens was as she talked him through performing CPR and chest pumps. "There was no panting, no gasping. He wasn't out of breath," she added.

Sunday Independent

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