'Beneath contempt' - attempts to pull murdered Irishman Jason Corbett's children into court battle slated by family
THE sister of murdered Irish businessman Jason Corbett (39) has slated as "beneath contempt" efforts to drag his two children into the legal maelstrom in the US just to help his killers escape justice.
Tracey Corbett Lynch said she was "disgusted" over attempts by those acting on behalf of Tom and Molly Martens to again smear the reputation and good name of the Limerick father-of-two who was drugged and beaten to death as he slept in August 2015.
Mr Corbett was beaten to death with a heavy concrete brick and a metal baseball bat.
Tom and Molly Martens claimed they acted in self defence - but while Mr Corbett suffered horrific head injuries, the father and daughter were both found to be totally uninjured at the scene, suffering not even a scratch or a bruise.
US TV channel, CBS, broadcast a special episode of their investigative programme, '48 Hours', on the shocking killing of the Irish packaging industry executive by his wife and father in law in North Carolina four years ago.
Tom and Molly Martens are currently serving 20-25 years in prison after being convicted by unanimous verdict of a North Carolina jury in August 2017 of Mr Corbett's second degree murder.
Both are now challenging their convictions - and claim they received an unfair trial by not being allowed introduce disputed statements from Mr Corbett's two children, Jack and Sarah.
Molly's uncle, Michael Earnest, and her brother, Connor, were both interviewed for the '48 Hours' programme.
Connor Martens said: "I did not think it was possible that both of them would be convicted of second degree murder."
Mr Earnest slated the Davidson Country convictions as "an atrocious miscarriage of justice" and "an unfair trial."
"Mistakes were made at (that) trial," he said.
"Perhaps the most compelling of the evidence not presented at trial were the numerous statements given by Jack and Sarah Corbett given to highly trained case workers from the NC Department of Social Services," he said.
Mr Earnest claimed that: "Without Tom Martens heroic efforts that night (August 2) Molly would be dead."
Connor Martens also argued that the statements by Jack and Sarah should have been admitted at trial.
"They say that Jason was an abuser. Those interviews were conducted in a professional environment on multiple occasions where Molly was not present."
However, Jason's family consistently maintained those statements by the traumatised children were effectively coached after Jack and Sarah had been with Molly and her family in the 48 hours after the murder.
The trial judge, Judge David Lee, ruled the children's statements as inadmissible after hearing they had been retracted with fresh statements issued in Ireland which flatly contradicted the North Carolina interviews.
The disputed statements by the children are now a central plank of the father and daughter's appeal against their murder convictions.
Tracey Corbett Lynch said such claims on behalf of Tom and Molly Martens were "beneath contempt."
"Our sole motivation in being interviewed was to counter the scurrilous and unfounded allegations levelled against Jason in the US on behalf of those who will resort to anything in their desperate efforts to evade justice and avoid 20-25 year prison sentences as handed down by a North Carolina court for their heinous atrocious and cruel crime," she said.
"We welcomed the opportunity offered by CBS and were fortunate to tell Jason's story on their award-winning programme - to be able to tell the truth, to defend his reputation and good name."
"However, we must put on record our disgust at the attempts by the Martens family to once again smear Jason's reputation - and to use his beloved children, Jack and Sarah, in a bid to cast doubt on the verdict offered by 12 brave and true North Carolina jurors."
"Not once during the five week trial was any evidence offered by Tom and Molly Martens as to abusive behaviour by Jason prior to August 2 2015 when he was drugged and beaten to death."
"Tom Martens, who offered evidence in his own defence, is on record as saying he never witnessed or heard any abusive behaviour by Jason towards Molly in the previous four years of their marriage."
"Molly Martens did not offer evidence in her own defence at her trial - but was perfectly willing to use US television to cast malicious slurs which she did not relate or substantiate from the witness box. She refused to give evidence."
"The actions of Tom and Molly Martens orphaned Jason's children by his beloved late first wife, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick."
"It is beyond comprehension that those acting on Tom and Molly's behalf are willing to use two children with the sole purpose to help two convicted murderers."
"We are disappointed at the allegations made on behalf of Tom and Molly Martens but, sadly, are not surprised. The Martens continuously use the children in such a despicably public way."
Tracey said her family are focused on the welfare of the children.
"It has been a tremendous challenge to protect Jack and Sarah over the past four years. It speaks volumes as to the lengths the Martens will go to in their efforts to distort the facts and further destroy the lives of two innocent children by dragging them into defending the indefensible."
"It is beyond contemptible that Molly Martens wants to compel two children she orphaned into a bruising trial process when she did not offer evidence in her own defence. Why does she want Jason's children to speak when she was never willing to do so during the trial?"
"Molly and Tom Martens were unanimously convicted by a jury of their peers. They are murderers and no amount of innuendo or speculation can change the fact that they beat Jason to a pulp, cruelly left him to die and then did everything they could to frighten and manipulate Jack and Sarah."
"We made a vow to Jack, Sarah and my parents that we would always protect Jason's good name and reputation."
"We will continue to fulfill that vow - and to campaign with every resource open to us to support North Carolina prosecutors and ensure that Tom and Molly Martens serve 20-25 years for the evil they inflicted on a loving, devoted and generous father of two."
"We remain confident the verdict will be upheld by the court of appeals. Our family would like to thank the public for their continued support."