A neighbour testified yesterday that things were normal the day before Irish businessman Jason Corbett was bludgeoned to death.
That balmy Saturday afternoon, both men were mowing their lawns. David Fritzsche said he finished first and went over and helped Jason Corbett complete his lawn. Then they put up some chairs in their driveways and drank beer while their children played.
That day would be the last one in which Mr Fritzsche would see his next-door neighbour alive.
Jason Corbett, 39, was found bludgeoned to death in the master bedroom of his home at 160 Panther Creek Court in the Meadowlands, a golf-course community in Davidson County, in the early morning hours of August 2, 2015.
His second wife, Molly Martens, and her retired FBI agent father, Thomas Martens, are on trial for second-degree murder in Mr Corbett’s death.
Ms Martens and Mr Martens have pleaded not guilty and have claimed self-defence and the defence of others, saying that Mr Martens struck Mr Corbett because he was choking and threatening to kill Ms Martens.
Mr Fritzsche said he and his wife, Michelle, moved to the community in 2006. They have two children. They were there when Mr Corbett and Ms Martens moved in with Jason’s children, Jack and Sarah, from his first marriage. “I consider him a friend,” he said.
That summer, Mr Corbett had joined a soccer team that Mr Fritzsche belonged to. And the two families socialised when they could, he said.
On August 1, 2015, the two men consumed seven to eight beers and then split a 32-ounce beer, one of two that Ms Martens had brought out. They never got to the second can.
Ms Marten’s parents, Sharon and Thomas Martens, arrived at the home around 8.30 that night and Jason helped his father-in-law take his luggage out of the car, Mr Fritzsche said.
“It was very calm,” he said, when asked about Mr Martens’ demeanor.
He saw no change in Mr Corbett when the Martens arrived and Mr Corbett did not appear impaired.
Mr Fritzsche and his wife left for dinner. They came back later and went to bed.
About 5.30am, Ms Martens came to his house. She used the half-bath twice, he said. She was there for 90 minutes.
He didn’t notice any injury.