Monday 20 November 2017

Molly Marten's murder trial: Molly's brothers take stand as trial nears end

Molly Martens-Corbett
Molly Martens-Corbett
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Two of Jason Corbett's US brothers-in-law will offer defence testimony today as the North Carolina murder trial of their father and sister reaches its conclusion.

Retired FBI agent Thomas Martens (67) and his daughter Molly Martens-Corbett (33) deny the second degree murder of Mr Corbett (39) two years ago.

Their trial before Judge David Lee and a Davidson County Superior Court jury of nine women and three men is now entering its fourth week.

Both insisted they acted in self-defence in inflicting fatal head injuries on the Limerick businessman and father-of-two in the early hours of August 2, 2015.

The Janesboro native was found with horrific head injuries inflicted by a metal baseball bat and a stone garden paving brick in the master bedroom of his home at Panther Creek outside Lexington. The injuries were so catastrophic that a pathologist indicated that Mr Corbett was struck at least 12 times in the skull.

Both the father and daughter were uninjured at the scene.

Mr Corbett married Ms Martens-Corbett in 2011. He met the Tennessee woman when he advertised for an au pair/nanny to help him look after his two children, who were both aged under two years at the time of the tragic death of his wife Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick from a fatal asthma attack.

After their 2011 wedding, Mr Corbett agreed to relocate his family to the US because his second wife was homesick.

Now, two of Ms Martens-Corbett's three brothers - Connor, Bobby or Stewart - will offer testimony today in defence of their father and sister.

The brothers will testify as to the nature of the relationship and marriage between Mr Corbett and their sister. They will also testify as to their family dealings with Mr Corbett.

The defence teams of David Freedman, for Mr Martens, and Walter Holton, for Ms Martens-Corbett, are also expected to introduce technical evidence in support of the self-defence argument of their clients.

Mr Martens, a qualified lawyer, offered evidence on Friday where he insisted he feared for the life of himself and his daughter that morning.

His daughter is not expected to offer testimony as is her right under the US constitution.

Mr Martens insisted he struck Mr Corbett, who was naked and unarmed, only to protect himself and his daughter.

Mr Martens claimed the Irishman had his daughter by the throat during an argument in the master bedroom.

"I made the decision to hit him in the back of the head with the baseball bat to end the threat to my daughter," he said.

However, he said he could not recall striking Mr Corbett while he lay helpless on the ground or swinging the baseball bat so hard it knocked indentations in the bedroom wall.

He confirmed his wife, Sharon Martens, was in a basement bedroom in the Corbett home but did not come up to the master bedroom at any stage to see what was wrong. Similarly, neither Mr Martens nor Ms Martens-Corbett called out to the mother-of-four at any stage to call 911 or offer them help.

Mr Martens confirmed he did not like his Irish son-in-law, but rejected assistant district attorney Greg Brown's suggestion he was attempting to take the blame for his daughter over what had happened. The Knoxville resident said he had urged his daughter to consult with lawyers and to divorce the Irishman.

"He did not measure up to what I thought my daughter's standard should be," he said.

He acknowledged he held Mr Corbett in disdain and had said disparaging things about him.

Judge Lee has indicated that, once the defence case concludes, closing arguments will take place and the jury will be charged.

Irish Independent

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