Limerick-born businessman Jason Corbett was beaten so brutally that pieces of his skull fell out on the medical examiner’s table during the autopsy, a trial in North Carolina, heard yesterday.
By Michael Hewlett in Carolina
“You’re going to see pieces of his skull that look like a hard boiled egg that got dropped on a counter,” Assistant District Attorney Alan Martin said during a graphic recounting of the prosecution’s case in opening statements at Davidson County Superior Court.
Molly Martens, 33, and her father, Thomas Martens, 67, a former FBI agent, are on trial for second-degree murder in Mr Corbett’s death. They have pleaded not guilty and claim self-defence and the defence of others.
Mr Corbett was found dead two years ago at his Panther Creek home he shared with his second wife, Ms Martens.
Mr Martin described a bloody scene in the early morning hours of August 2, 2015, that he argued was inconsistent with self-defence or defence of others.
“There was blood on this wall and there was blood on this wall,” said Mr Martin, pointing to various parts of the courtroom as if it were the master bedroom Mr Corbett was found in.
Mr Corbett, 39, was found dead in the master bedroom inside his house at 160 Panther Creek Court, where he lived with Ms Martens and his two children from his first marriage, Jack and Sarah.
“It’s bad,” a paramedic told a Davidson County sheriff’s detective who came to the scene, according to Mr Martin.
The assistant district attorney said blood was everywhere in the bedroom, along the hallway, and in the bathroom nearby. A baseball bat and a brick were covered in blood.
Mr Corbett, Ms Martens, and Mr Martens were the only ones in the bedroom and in the bathroom, but Ms Martens and Mr Martens came out without any visible wounds, Mr Martin said.
He said Mr Martens struck Jason Corbett with a baseball bat and Ms Martens hit her husband with the brick.
A medical examiner will testify that Mr Corbett was hit in 10 different places around his head. In two places, he was hit multiple times, Mr Martin said.
David Freedman, one of Martens’ attorneys, described to jurors a struggle in which Mr Martens and Ms Martens feared for their lives.
Mr Martens woke up the morning of August 1, 2015, in Knoxville, Tennesse and told his wife, Sharon, he wanted to travel to Wallsburg and visit his daughter and his grandchildren.
When they arrived hours later, they spent some time with Ms Martens and Mr Corbett and then went to bed, Mr Freedman said. Then around 3am, he heard screams.
“He knows upstairs is his daughter,” Mr Freedman said. “He knows upstairs is his grandchildren. He doesn’t know what he’s facing.”
Mr Freedman said Mr Martens grabbed a little league baseball bat that he had planned to give to Jack the next day and ran up the stairs. He went to the bedroom and found Mr Corbett choking Ms Martens, said Mr Freedman.
He told the court Mr Martens told Mr Corbett to stop, but that he threatened to kill Ms Martens. Jason moves out of the bedroom and toward the bathroom, Mr Freedman said.
He said Mr Martens hit Mr Corbett until he let Ms Martens go and fell down in the bedroom. Then Mr Martens called 911 and performed CPR, Mr Freedman said.
Walter Holton, Ms Marten’s attorney, told the court that investigators never bothered to examine blonde hair that he said was found under Mr Corbett’s fingers that could corroborate what Mr Martens and his daughter told the sheriff’s office.
Mr Holton reminded the jury that the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants are guilty of second-degree murder.