Friday 22 November 2019

Jason Corbett was 'beaten after death' - pathologist tells murder trial

  • Murder trial continues in North Carolina

  • Father-of-two sustained 'severe and heavy trauma to the head'

  • Policeman says he told children to 'close their eyes' as he carried them downstairs

  • 'It is bad in there - real bad' - paramedic told policeman, court hears

Molly Martens-Corbett enters court with her lawyer Walter Holton yesterday
Molly Martens-Corbett enters court with her lawyer Walter Holton yesterday

Ralph Riegel in Lexington

Mr Corbett was beaten to death in a prolonged attack and appeared to sustain an injury after he had died, a pathologist told a murder trial jury yesterday.

The North Carolina murder trial heard the Limerick man suffered a minimum of 12 major blows to the head with parts of his skull broken loose in two different areas.

North Carolina Chief Medical Examiner's Office associate pathologist Dr Craig Nelson said the sheer extent of the damage to Mr Corbett's skull was similar to the degree of injuries suffered "in falls from a great height or in car crashes".

Mr Corbett also suffered a broken nose and blunt force trauma injuries to his face, back, neck and arm.

Jason Corbett
Jason Corbett

The court also heard how policemen who arrived at the home of Irish father Jason Corbett (39) carried his two young children downstairs and advised them to close their eyes so they wouldn't see the blood stains on the walls and floor from their father's fatal head injuries.

Davidson County Sheriff's Department officer Corporal Clayton Dagenhardt told the murder trial he saw blood on the walls, floor, bed, hallway and bedroom of a luxury Panther Creek gated community home he was called to at 3am on August 2, 2015.

He was the first police officer to enter the master bedroom of the home after the alarm was raised.

As he walked into the property at Panther Creek, a paramedic told him: "It is bad in there - real bad. It is a horrible scene."

Thomas Martens
Thomas Martens

Corporal Dagenhardt photographed with his mobile phone the scene where Mr Corbett's naked and blood-stained body was lying on the floor.

After paramedics removed the body, he went upstairs with another policeman to determine who else was in the property.

Mr Corbett's two children, Jack and Sarah, both aged under 10 years, were asleep in separate bedrooms upstairs.

He went into Sarah's bedroom. "She was asleep - she had not been disturbed in any way," he said.

His colleague woke the little girl's brother, Jack.

"She was startled when I woke her. I said I wanted her to close her eyes (when he brought her downstairs)."

The little girl agreed with the policeman's suggestion that he carry her downstairs.

"I told her to turn her face into my neck and I told her to close her eyes," he said." "I then walked backwards so she didn't open her eyes and she wouldn't be exposed to anything."

A blood trail had been left from their father's body.

With his colleague, he then brought the two children downstairs where he found mother-of-four Sharon Martens, Thomas Martens's wife, standing by a downstairs bedroom door.

"(She was) calm," he said. "I advised her we had an active investigation and we had to leave the children in her care," he added.

Injuries

A paramedic who desperately tried to save Mr Corbett's life said when he tried to adjust the position of the Irish businessman's head during emergency medical treatment the fingers of his gloved hand suddenly slipped up inside his skull.

Davidson County emergency medical service (EMS) Sergeant Barry Alphin said it was only then he realised the father-of-two had sustained "severe and heavy trauma to the head".

"With my gloves on, I put my hand under his head and scalp and tried to lift up his chin," he said.

This was to allow a breathing tube to be inserted into Mr Corbett's throat while paramedics worked on him inside an ambulance parked outside his home.

"(But) my left hand and fingers went up in the skull."

Mr Alphin was giving evidence at the murder trial of Molly Martens-Corbett (33) and her father, retired FBI agent Mr Martens (67). Both deny the second degree murder of Ms Martens-Corbett's husband on August 2, 2015.

They have argued self-defence and claimed Mr Corbett was attacking his wife.

The jury yesterday heard graphic evidence as to the precise injuries suffered by Mr Corbett.

The trial had to briefly pause after a juror became physically ill when post-mortem photographs showing the extensive damage to his skull were shown.

The female juror began retching in the jury box and had to leave Courtroom C of Davidson County Superior Court during the hearing.

The trial has already heard Mr Corbett died from multiple blows to the head from a baseball bat and a garden paving brick. The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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