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Monday 11 December 2017

'I've impacted my whole family' - Molly Martens recalls the night Jason Corbett was killed

Molly Martens Corbett on ABC's 20/20
Molly Martens Corbett on ABC's 20/20
Thomas Martens and his daughter Molly Martens Corbett on ABC's 20/20
Molly Martens after the murder of Jason Corbett
Thomas Martens after the murder of Jason Corbett
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Molly Martens Corbett (33) said she fears she has "ruined" her father's life over the killing of her Irish husband, Jason Corbett (39).

Ms Martens Corbett and her father, retired FBI agent, Thomas Michael Martens (67), gave an interview with US network ABC for their hugely popular '20/20' show shortly before the North Carolina murder trial started on July 17.

Details of the interview have now been broadcast 24 hours after the Tennessee father and daughter were handed minimum 20 year sentences for the second degree murder of the Limerick father of two and packaging industry executive in 2015.

Both are now in high security North Carolina prisons.

Ms Martens Corbett, a former model and swim coach, said she has been very upset over the fact her father was involved in the court proceedings over her husband's death.

"It makes me feel like, you know, I’ve ruined his life. That I’ve impacted my whole family," she said."And it’s not a good feeling.”

Thomas Martens and his daughter Molly Martens Corbett on ABC's 20/20
Thomas Martens and his daughter Molly Martens Corbett on ABC's 20/20

Ms Martens Corbett said she feels "horrible" that the father of four ended up being prosecuted over the matter after a lifetime of service to the US

She insisted she did not murder her husband - and insisted her father did not murder Mr Corbett either.

She maintained that they both acted only in self defence on August 2 2015 at the luxury home of the Corbett's at Panther Creek Court.

"I was sure he (Mr Corbett) was going to kill my father."

Molly Martens after the murder of Jason Corbett
Molly Martens after the murder of Jason Corbett

Mr Martens similarly maintained his innocence of the murder charge.

“I did not murder my son-in-law," he said."And I would challenge any reasonable man, much less a reasonable father, to say that this was unnecessary force.

“I used the force that was necessary to end the threat. That’s what I was trained to do for over 31 years, end the deadly threat.”

Mr Martens said no father would stand idly by and watch a threat to their child.

“I’m going to do everything that I have to do to save her life," he told ABC. "And if I die trying, well - she’s my daughter. I’m not going to live with not trying. I’ll tell you that.”

Mr Martens said at one point in the confrontation he thought he was going to die.

Thomas Martens after the murder of Jason Corbett
Thomas Martens after the murder of Jason Corbett

In the interview, the father and daughter offered greater detail of the moments leading up to the disputed incident in the master bedroom in which Mr Corbett suffered horrendous head injuries.

Ms Martens Corbett said the Limerick man became upset when he was awoken around 3am on August 2.

Mr Martens echoed his testimony to the court that, while asleep in a basement bedroom, he was awoken by the sound of a scream and thumping noises from the upstairs master bedroom.

“I don’t know what precisely woke me up, but what I heard were loud voices and a kind of, like, thumping, like heavy feet, you know, moving around.

“And it was coming from the floor above me. It was in the dead of the morning, and it wasn’t right. Something bad was going on.”

He grabbed a baseball bat intended as a present for his grandson Jack and went upstairs.

The baseball bat and brick used to murder Jason Corbett. Picture: RTE
The baseball bat and brick used to murder Jason Corbett. Picture: RTE

In her statement to the police on August 2, Ms Martens Corbett claimed her husband grasped her by the throat and, after she screamed, put his hand over her mouth to keep her quiet.

“At some point, when he stopped, I screamed, and he started again. And the next thing I remember is my dad standing in the doorway,” she said.

Mr Martens, armed with the baseball bat, came into the bedroom and confronted his son-in-law.

“He quickly moves to not having his hands around her neck, but to move her in front of him in between me … with her throat right in front of the crook of his elbow, and so he’s got her in a chokehold," he said.

“I said, ‘Let her go.’ And he said, ‘I’m going to kill her,’ then he starts to edge toward the master bathroom, which has a door. And my thought was, ‘If he gets into the bathroom, if he gets that door between me and him, then she’s dead. And there’s nothing I can do about it."

"And so I reached around to his left, and my right – I’m right-handed – with the baseball bat. And I hit him in the back of the head with the baseball bat.”

“I hit him hard on the back of the head again."

Later, Mr Corbett is lying blood-covered and motionless on the bedroom carpet.

“It looks like the threat is over, so I tell Molly, ‘We need to call 911.’”

The former FBI agent then told the 911 operator precisely what had happened.

“He’s bleeding all over and I may have killed him.”

However, Mr Martens Corbett said she did not believe her husband was dead.

“The whole time, I’m thinking that he’s going to sit up and start choking me again, and it was terrifying," she told ABC.

“I think I was so upset that I couldn’t– but I was doing my best to perform CPR to the best of my ability and trying to make sure that he would be OK. But I was scared the whole time.”

“We (later) gave separate (police) statements, and you know, I was told, you know, ‘Don’t worry. It looks like self-defence. It’s going to be okay.”

ABC plan to broadcast further segments of the interview at a later date.

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