'You were our whole world' - family's birthday tribute to murdered Irish dad Jason Corbett
THE family of an Irish father of two brutally murdered by his American wife and father-in-law have paid a moving birthday tribute to him - and vowed they will continue to defend his good name.
Tributes were paid to Jason Corbett (39) on what would have been his 43rd birthday with his sister, Tracey, vowing that they will provide whatever support is required to the North Carolina authorities to ensure her brother's killers face justice.
Tracey paid a special birthday tribute to her brother and admitted that the Limerick family remain heartbroken at his loss.
"To the world you were just one person - but to us you were our whole world," she said.
"This gift of being your sister, this inexplicable pain I would rather endure than have not known you. I will continue to walk the earth with you in my heart, Jason. Happy birthday"
Jason's wife, Molly (35), and father in law, Tom Martens (68), were convicted of his second degree murder at his luxury home outside Winston-Salem in North Carolina.
He had relocated from Limerick to North Carolina with his packaging company in 2011 because his American wife was homesick in Ireland.
Both Molly and Tom Martens now serving 20-25 years in North Carolina prisons.
Traced spearheaded an Irish campaign to support North Carolina prosecutors through their investigation of the case - and then wrote a best-selling tribute to her brother entitled 'My Brother Jason'.
However, the father and daughter have appealed their convictions and sentences - and a controversial Facebook page, 'Free Tom and Molly', is campaigning on their behalf.
Members of the Corbett family were outraged at some of the allegations contained on the Facebook page.
Last month, Tracey, her husband, Dave Lynch, her sister, Marilyn, her brother, Wayne, and friend Lynn Shanahan flew to the US to attend the North Carolina Court of Appeals hearing to show their support for prosecutors in defending the Martens appeal.
Tracey said her family remain convinced that justice for her brother will be upheld in North Carolina.
"We put our faith in the law and the justice system in North Carolina over Jason's murder and that faith was fully justified given the guilty verdicts returned by the jury in Davidson County Superior Court in August 2017," she said.
"We wanted to attend the North Carolina Court of Appeals hearing in Raleigh to show our support for the North Carolina police and prosecutors who did such an incredible job in bringing my brother's killers to justice."
The three judge panel reserved their judgement which is now expected between April and June.
"We attended the court to give our brother a voice - and to say that justice was served in Lexington two years ago and should now be upheld," she said.
"We have been overwhelmed by the support, kindness and solidarity of the people of North Carolina which is another reason why we want to be here - to demonstrate our gratitude."
The family are appalled, however, at the ongoing attempt to undermine his good name so that those convicted of his killing can somehow evade justice.
A Davidson County Superior Court jury unanimously convicted the father and daughter of beating Mr Corbett to death as he slept in the luxury home outside Winston Salem he shared with his second wife, Ms Martens, on August 2 2015.
His family maintain the killing was sparked by Molly Martens obsession with gaining control of Jason's two children - and her fears that he was about to move back to Ireland over her increasingly bizarre behaviour.
The Limerickman only discovered weeks before his June 2011 wedding to Molly that she had a long history of serious mental health problems.
The second degree murder convictions were returned after a five week trial in July/August 2017 that dominated headlines in both Ireland and the US.
Mr Corbett was beaten to death with a concrete brick and a paving bat.
Blood spatter evidence indicated he was likely asleep in bed when the first blow was struck.
An attempt had been made to drug him with a sedative.
Pathology evidence indicated that Mr Corbett was beaten even after he lay dead on the floor.
Both father and daughter claimed they acted in self defence.
However, while Mr Corbett suffered horrific head injuries with a pathologist unable to even determine the precise number of blows struck, Mr Martens and Ms Martens were found by police to be totally uninjured at the scene.
Neither had so much as a cut or a bruise.
The father and daughter lodged written submissions on why their appeal should be upheld last September.
The appeal by the father and daughter was based on a number of grounds including the claim they acted in self defence, that the trial judge erred in not allowing them enter specific statements, that there was jury misbehaviour and that prosecution forensic evidence was misleading.
Mr Martens insisted he only struck his son-in-law with a baseball bat when he claimed he saw him holding Ms Martens by the throat.
Molly Martens met her Irish husband in March 2008 when she flew to Ireland to work as a nanny caring for his two children.
His first wife, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick, died from a tragic asthma attack in November 2006 just weeks after the birth of their second child.