Thursday 19 September 2019

Blood-stained brick and baseball bat used to kill Corbett are shown to jury

Murder accused Molly declined hospital check, writes Ralph Riegel in Lexington

Molly Martens Corbett outside the courthouse. Photo: Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch
Molly Martens Corbett outside the courthouse. Photo: Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch

Ralph Riegel

Jurors in the Jason Corbett murder trial have been shown the baseball bat and blood-stained garden paving brick used to inflict fatal head injuries on the Limerick father of two.

The Davidson County Superior Court trial of Molly Martens Corbett (33) and her father, retired FBI agent Thomas Michael Martens (67), entered its 10th day before Judge David Lee.

Both accused deny the second-degree murder of Mr Corbett on August 2, 2015, at the luxury home he shared with his second wife, Ms Martens Corbett, at Panther Creek in North Carolina.

The duo claim they acted in self-defence, alleging Mr Corbett attacked his wife and was attempting to strangle her.

Tomorrow is the second anniversary of the death of Mr Corbett, who died from at least 12 severe blows to the head which shattered his skull.

Davidson County crime scene examiner Lt Frank Young opened a number of brown paper evidence bags yesterday to show items to the jury, including the baseball bat, garden paving brick, Ms Martens Corbett's blue pyjama set and Mr Martens's red Izod polo shirt and white patterned boxer shorts.

Martens with Jason Corbett
Martens with Jason Corbett

The father and daughter remained impassive as their blood-spattered clothing was shown, item by item, to the jury.

The black-coloured Little League Louisville Slugger baseball bat is 28 inches in length and made of aluminium.

The trial previously heard it was brought to Panther Creek by Mr Martens as a gift for Mr Corbett's young son.

Lt Young confirmed that both the baseball bat and the garden paving brick had visible stains on them.

"[I found the bat] in the master bedroom of the residence - the bat was standing in front of the dresser," he said.

Lt Young also showed the garden paving brick he seized at the scene to the jury.

"The cement paver appears to be stained with blood," he said.

Lt Young also displayed the pyjamas, polo shirt and boxer shorts to the jury - with blood spatters visible on them.

In cross-examination with defence counsel, Lt Young confirmed he took a photograph of Mr Corbett in a body bag on the driveway of his home where there was a hair visible, entwined in his right hand.

The trial has already heard that no such hair was noted in Mr Corbett's hand at the pathology examination.

"I did not see a [hair] root," Lt Young said. "I don't remember seeing any [hair] in the left hand."

The crime scene examiner confirmed he did not take samples from underneath the fingernails of either Mr Corbett or Ms Martens Corbett at the scene.

Similarly, Mr Corbett's blood-covered hands were not forensically 'bagged' - a process which preserves all evidential material.

However, Lt Young confirmed to Assistant District Attorney Greg Brown that there was no visible injury to Ms Martens Corbett to justify the 'bagging' of Mr Corbett's hands.

Lt Young said that at all times Ms Martens Corbett and Mr Martens were co-operative, agreeing to give DNA samples, have themselves photographed and, on September 22, 2016, agreeing to supply hair samples.

Both the father and daughter have argued self-defence and claimed Mr Corbett attacked his wife and threatened to kill her. Her father said he then intervened and struck Mr Corbett to defend them both.

However, Ms Martens Corbett and Mr Martens were found by Davidson County police and paramedics to be uninjured at the scene.

Ms Martens Corbett declined to attend a hospital for a medical check.

Lt Young said that he took a photograph which showed blood on Ms Martens Corbett's hair, forehead, cheek and behind her left ear.

Defence counsel Walter Holton suggested the mark behind the young woman's ear could have been a scratch.

However, Lt Young said he did not physically examine the mark and did not test it.

Forensic DNA expert Wendell Ivory confirmed that Mr Corbett's DNA was found on the baseball bat and garden paving brick recovered from the bedroom of his blood-soaked home.

His DNA was also found on the pyjamas of Ms Martens Corbett, and the polo shirt and boxer shorts of his father-in-law, Mr Martens.

Hair found embedded on the blood-soaked garden paving brick matched the microscopic profile of the Limerick father of two's hair samples.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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