Tuesday 12 December 2017

Molly Martens murder trial: ‘I tried to hit him with a brick I had on my nightstand’

'Jason's blood screams for justice,' court told

Molly Martens Corbett walks to the Davidson County Courthouse. Photo: The Dispatch
Molly Martens Corbett walks to the Davidson County Courthouse. Photo: The Dispatch

Ralph Riegel In Lexington

Molly Martens Corbett told police in a statement that she "tried to hit" her husband with a brick that she had on her nightstand, a court has heard.

A North Carolina second-degree murder trial heard closing arguments as a jury were sent out to consider a verdict.

Ms Martens Corbett and her father Thomas Martens bludgeoned Irish businessman Jason Corbett to death, delayed making a 911 emergency call and then engaged in a "fake" cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) effort, a prosecutor claimed. Both Ms Martens Corbett (33) and her father (67), a retired FBI agent, deny the second-degree murder of the Limerick businessman in the bedroom of his luxury North Carolina home two years ago.

Assistant District Attorney Greg Brown told the jury Mr Corbett's "blood now screams for justice".

Earlier, he made reference to Ms Martens Corbett's police statement. "I tried to hit him with a brick I had on my nightstand. I do not remember clearly after that," she told Davidson County Sheriff's officers.

Mr Brown said that Jason was the victim of a "heinous, atrocious and cruel" attack. "Jason cannot speak out to you today but his blood speaks the truth and screams for justice," he said. He said in closing arguments that the forensic evidence indicates that both defendants acted to support their story of acting in self-defence.

"All the evidence conclusively shows that excessive force was used [to cause] the heinous, atrocious and cruel death of Jason Corbett," he said.

"Jason was left to die before 911 was ever called so as to allow the FBI agent and lawyer to develop the story he was going to tell and match wits with you to determine the outcome of this criminal prosecution."

Mr Brown contended Ms Martens Corbett had a motive - the fact she would get the marital home, its contents, an insurance policy payout and, Mr Corbett's two children. He pointed out that Mr Corbett (39) had repeatedly refused to sign adoption papers for his second wife, giving her equal rights to his children.

Mr Brown said paramedics also found dry, flaky blood and congealed blood of Mr Corbett at the scene - indicating the 911 call had not been made immediately as claimed.

Walter Holton, in defence closing arguments, claimed there were significant problems with the prosecution case including the failure to test a blonde hair found in Jason Corbett's fist, the failure to test blood marks on her neck for scratches, the failure to explain a red mark to his client's neck and the failure to take fingernail scrapings from either Mr Corbett or Ms Martens Corbett at the scene. "Could it (red mark) have come from Mr Corbett's fingernails?" he asked.

However, he said the failure of the prosecution to play the video-recorded interview voluntarily given by Ms Martens Corbett in Davidson County police station around 6am on August 2, 2015 should be significant for jurors.

Mr Holton insisted that Ms Martens Corbett had nothing to gain from Jason Corbett's death. "She was not in the will. It was not about the children," he said. "They are gone home - they are in Ireland. She now lives with her parents. She has no assets."

He urged jurors to consider the circumstances in which the incident happened, when Ms Martens Corbett and her father were confronted by a man who was angry and after six or seven beers. He pointed out that Jason Corbett was younger, bigger and stronger than Mr Martens.

Earlier, Ms Martens Corbett opted not to take the stand.

Irish Independent

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