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'We all know what happened. The truth has not changed' - Corbett family to fight appeal

Heartbroken relatives back challenge to Molly Martens bid for retrial

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Clockwise from top: Members of the Corbett family (l-r) Tracey Corbett Lynch, Dave Lynch, Wayne Corbett, Marilyn Corbett, and Lynn Shanahan

Clockwise from top: Members of the Corbett family (l-r) Tracey Corbett Lynch, Dave Lynch, Wayne Corbett, Marilyn Corbett, and Lynn Shanahan

Clockwise from top: Members of the Corbett family (l-r) Tracey Corbett Lynch, Dave Lynch, Wayne Corbett, Marilyn Corbett, and Lynn Shanahan

The family of murdered Irish businessman Jason Corbett have broken their silence and vowed they will work tirelessly to ensure the truth is upheld with Molly and Tom Martens set to have their retrial appealed to the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Jason's sister, Tracey Corbett Lynch, revealed in her first statement since the shock appeal ruling that her Limerick-based family have been totally overwhelmed by messages of support from across Ireland and the US.

The messages of support followed the shock decision of the North Carolina Court of Appeal to order a retrial for the father and daughter convicted of the 2015 second degree murder of the Irish father of two.

Martens married the Irish widower in 2011 and her father, a retired FBI agent, demanded the Limerick executive sign adoption papers granting the US woman equal rights to his two children by his late first wife.

Mr Corbett (39) refused amid mounting concerns over his wife's mental health and bizarre behaviour.

Tracey said her family will now do everything in their power to back Davidson County and North Carolina prosecutors in their bid to have the retrial decision challenged in the North Carolina Supreme Court.

"The truth will not change," she said.

"We all know what happened - Jason was beaten around his head with a brick and baseball bat while he slept in his home.

"Molly and Thomas Martens continued to beat Jason even after he died. Two children were orphaned.

"My brother's children, Jack and Sarah, had to be sheltered by police from seeing what the Martens had done to their father.

"The autopsy has also not changed. The horrific details of Jason's death have not changed. The Martens' complete lack of injuries at the scene have not changed.

"The fact that Jason was drugged has similarly not changed."

Tracey said her entire family were devastated by last week's Court of Appeal decision to grant the Martens a full retrial by a majority two-to-one verdict of the three judges.

"We had not expected this decision. We fully respect the courts in the US. However, we are disappointed," she said.

The family said they have struggled to understand the Court of Appeal verdict, given the overwhelming evidence against the father and daughter at the original trial.

Both had argued self-defence - despite the fact they were totally uninjured at the scene while Mr Corbett had suffered so many savage blows to the head a pathologist was unable to accurately count them.

"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," said Tracey.

"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."

Tracey said the trial had vindicated her brother's good name and what was done to him by his second wife and father-in-law, two people he had trusted.

"It was cathartic to tell the truth, to defend Jason's reputation and good name," she said.

"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 in a bid to cast doubt on the verdict offered by 12 brave and true North Carolina jurors.

"We are confident the Supreme Court appeal will uphold the convictions.

"We also want to thank people in the US and Ireland for the comments, letters, emails and messages of support. We are so very grateful.

"It really means so much when so many people are backing you during a horrible time."

The American father and daughter could be released from prison as early as St Patrick's Day if a US attorney general decides against a Supreme Court challenge.

Irish Independent