Sunday 16 June 2019

Martens-Corbett in line for €500,000 insurance payout after husband Jason's death

Jason Corbett with his wife Molly, who is charged with his second degree murder
Jason Corbett with his wife Molly, who is charged with his second degree murder

Ralph Riegel

Murder accused Molly Martens-Corbett is the main beneficiary of a €500,000 life insurance policy payable on the death of her husband Jason Corbett.

A North Carolina murder trial heard that the money is currently being held in a trust fund as the second degree murder trial proceeds.

Ms Martens-Corbett's father, retired FBI agent Thomas Michael Martens (67), broke down and wept in evidence as he said he repeatedly struck his Irish son-in-law with a metal baseball bat over the head because he feared for his life and the life of his daughter.

Mr Martens fought back tears as he offered evidence for the first time in his three-week Davidson County Superior Court murder trial in the US.

Mr Martens and Ms Martens-Corbett (33) both deny the second degree murder of Mr Corbett (39) in North Carolina on August 2, 2015.

Mr Corbett, a father-of-two from Limerick, died from horrific head injuries in the bedroom of his luxury Panther Creek property outside Lexington.

His skull was effectively smashed by at least 12 blows.

Both his father-in-law and wife were found by police and paramedics to be totally uninjured after the incident.

"I hit him until I thought that he could not kill me," Mr Martens said. "He said he was going to kill Molly.

Read More: Thomas Michael Martens weeps as he recounts repeatedly striking Jason Corbett with metal bat

"I actually felt he was going to kill me."

Mr Martens said he was visiting his daughter and son-in-law with his wife Sharon and had gone to bed around 11pm on August 1. He said his son-in-law had consumed both beers and a cocktail.

Mr Martens said he was awoken by loud sounds from the master bedroom early on August 2. "I heard a scream and loud voices," he said.

He said he grabbed a baseball bat and went to the bedroom to investigate.

"In front of me, I would say seven to eight feet from me, Jason had his hands around Molly's neck," he said.

"I said: 'Let her go'. He said: 'I am going to kill her.' I told him again, several times, to let her go.

"He was really angry and I was really scared."

Mr Martens said he struck Mr Corbett with the baseball bat he had brought to the house as a gift for Mr Corbett's son, Jack. The accused said he repeatedly struck Mr Corbett with the baseball bat but, at one point, Mr Corbett shoved him away and managed to grab the bat.

Mr Martens said he jumped back up off the floor and rushed Mr Corbett.

Read More: Homesick Jason wanted to move back to Ireland, sister tells trial

Somehow, he said he managed to regain control of the bat from the younger, heavier man. Mr Martens claimed his son-in-law had his daughter in a choke hold and he was afraid when he saw her stop trying to wiggle.

"I don't know how many times I hit him in the head."

Mr Martens said he was convinced if he fled the bedroom his daughter would have been killed. "If I get out of the bedroom he is going to kill Molly. He is bigger, stronger and younger than me. I just did the best I could," he said in court.

Eventually, he said his son-in-law fell to the ground after repeated blows to the head. "He goes down - I started thinking a little more clearly. Molly is in bad shape. I told her to find a phone. I said we had to call 911."

Mr Martens admitted he did not like his son-in-law. "I did not like him. I am sure I said disparaging things about him," he said.

Mr Martens said "an issue of contention" arose because Mr Corbett did not allow his daughter to formally adopt his two children, born to his late first wife, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick.

However, he acknowledged Mr Corbett provided all the funds for their €350,000 Panther Creek home and the Irish businessman had also paid him €45,000 towards their 2011 wedding costs.

"We were superficially friendly - I am sure he knew I had some feelings about him," Mr Martens said.

He also declined to go on a joint family holiday to Washington because Mr Corbett was there. However, he said he could not recall telling work colleague Jonathan Underwood: "If I was going on vacation, why would I want to go on vacation with that asshole."

The father-of-four acknowledged he had never seen or been told about any incident of domestic violence between Mr Corbett and his daughter.

Judge David Lee also ruled as inadmissible a statement from Mr Martens about comments he claimed were made by the father of Mr Corbett's late first wife.

Mr Martens said he was approached by Michael Fitzpatrick and told Jason was responsible for the tragic death of Ms Fitzpatrick from an asthma attack in 2006.

"(Mr Martens was) approached by Michael Fitzpatrick (since deceased), the father of Jason Corbett's first wife....he believed Jason had caused the death of his daughter," a statement read.

Judge Lee refused to allow the jury to hear the statement on the basis it was potentially prejudicial and misleading. The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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