Martens self-defence claims challenged in new legal documents
A claim by killer Thomas Martens that he feared for the safety of daughter Molly in the months before the brutal murder of his Irish son-in-law, Jason Corbett, has been emphatically challenged in new US documents.
The documents were lodged by North Carolina state prosecutors in response to appeals by Molly (34) and Thomas Martens (68) against their convictions for the second-degree murder of Mr Corbett (39).
The father and daughter are currently serving 25-year sentences over the murder on August 2, 2015.
Mr Corbett was beaten to death with a brick and a baseball bat.
Both are now appealing amid claims they acted in self-defence. The appeal has also challenged juror behaviour and forensic evidence.
Thomas Martens - a retired FBI agent - insisted he only struck his son-in-law with a baseball bat when he claimed he saw him holding Molly Martens by the throat.
His legal team were not allowed to introduce claims at the Davidson County Superior Court trial where he alleged the father of Mr Corbett's late first wife, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick, said he held the Limerick businessman responsible for her death.
This was vehemently denied by Mags's father Michael Fitzpatrick.
Mags Fitzpatrick Corbett died from a severe asthma attack in November 2006, just weeks after giving birth to her second child.
Mr Corbett met Tennessee-native Molly Martens when she moved to Ireland to work as a nanny for his two children in 2008.
Mr Fitzpatrick made a sworn affidavit challenging Thomas Martens's allegations, despite being gravely ill.
Thomas Martens initially claimed he had heard the comments at a specific date in the US - but Mr Fitzpatrick indicated he was not even in the US at the time.
Mr Fitzpatrick, who has since passed away, remained resolute he never made any such comments. His affidavit was never entered in evidence.
The trial judge had described Thomas Martens's claims as "self-serving".
But the Fitzpatrick affidavit is now one of the documents cited by North Carolina prosecutors in defence of the appellant claims.