Tuesday 12 November 2019

Jury to hear opening statements in Martens murder trial today

Molly Martens-Corbett outside court Photo: Winston-Salem Journal/David Rolfe
Molly Martens-Corbett outside court Photo: Winston-Salem Journal/David Rolfe

Ralph Riegel

A jury is today set to hear opening statements in the murder trial of Molly Martens-Corbett (33) and her father, retired FBI agent Thomas Michael Martens (67), who both deny the killing of her Irish husband.

The father and daughter have pleaded not guilty before Judge David Lee at Davidson County Superior Court, North Carolina, to the second-degree murder of Ms Martens-Corbett's husband, packaging executive Jason Corbett (39).

The Limerick father of two was found dead at his Panther Creek home in North Carolina in the early hours of August 2, 2015.

Mr Corbett had suffered fatal head injuries in the upstairs bedroom of his luxury property.

These were apparently inflicted by a baseball bat and another implement.

Both his second wife and his father-in-law are now arguing self-defence and defence of another in the case.

Prosecutor Alan Martin has already indicated that the trial will involve an element of alleged domestic violence.

It will also include testimony from a number of specialist witnesses, including forensic experts.

Mr Martin has also confirmed that two of Mr Martens-Corbett's sons will be offering defence evidence in the trial.

Read More: Dark secrets come out as Deep South tries 'Miss Molly'

Mr Corbett's first wife, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick, died from an asthma attack in 2006 when their two children were aged under three years.

The Limerick father then met Ms Martens-Corbett, a native of Tennessee, when she replied to his advert for an au pair/nanny to help him look after his young children.

A relationship developed between them and the couple married in 2011.

They relocated to North Carolina the following year after Ms Martens-Corbett complained of feeling homesick for the US.

Five full days in the case last week were devoted to selecting a jury from a total jury panel of 143 Davidson County residents.

Judge Lee has indicated that he hopes to open the trial this afternoon if the jury selection process is successfully concluded.

It is expected that the trial will last for more than three weeks.

Members of Mr Corbett's Limerick family have travelled to Lexington in North Carolina for the trial. Those attending include his sister, Tracey, his brother, Wayne, and his brother-in-law, David.

Prosecutors have indicated that the case will include significant circumstantial evidence as well as testimony from multiple police witnesses including Lieutenant Detective Wanda Thompson, who led the investigation into Mr Corbett's death.

Jury members have been warned that some photographs of the Panther Creek home will be both "gruesome" and "gory".

The case has attracted substantial media attention in the US with major networks including ABC, NBC and Fox covering the trial.

Irish Independent

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