Corbett murder trial: 'No fingerprints found on baseball bat'

Jason Corbett​ and Molly Martens.

By Michael L Hewitt

Update 10.30pm: No fingerprints were found on the 28-inch Louisville Slugger baseball bat used to hit Irish businessman Jason Corbett multiple times in the head in the early morning hours of Aug. 2, 2015, a forensic analyst with the N.C. State Crime Lab testified today at his murder trial.

Adrianne Reeve, who works as an analyst with the State Crime Lab, said she did not find any latent finger prints on the baseball bat. Another analyst, Melanie Carson, said in court that one sample of hair taken from the bat was microscopically consistent with hair that had been collected from Jason Corbett's head. No conclusions could be made about a second sample of hair.

Carson also testified that out of 25 samples of hair taken from a concrete paving brick that prosecutors allege was also used to beat Jason Corbett, 12 hairs belonged to Jason Corbett. The others did not appear to match either Jason's wife Molly Martens or her father, Thomas Martens.

Molly Martens, 33, and Thomas Martens, 67, a former FBI agent, are facing trial for second-degree murder in Jason Corbett's death. They deny the charge. Jason Corbett died from blunt-force trauma to the head, according to an autopsy. Dr. Craig Nelson, a medical examiner, testified last week that Jason Corbett was struck in the head at least 12 times and that he was beaten so badly that he had a number of skull fractures.

Wendell Ivory, a forensic analyst with the State Crime Lab, is currently testifying about his DNA analysis of the baseball bat, the concrete paving brick and samples of hair and blood that was collected.

Earlier today, Lt. Frank Young showed jurors the baseball bat and the concrete paving brick. Hair and blood were collected from each of the items. Jurors were able to take a look at the brick, which was placed in a clear plastic container and passed among the jurors.

Young also showed the jurors the red Polo shirt and the white shorts that Thomas Martens was wearing when investigators arrived at 160 Panther Creek Court on Aug. 2, 2015. He also showed the blue pajamas that Molly Martens was wearing that morning.

David Freedman, attorney for Thomas Martens, asked Young whether he had photographed Mr Martens at the house and whether he had taken pictures of Martens in his underwear, which is what is Martens was allegedly wearing during the altercation with Jason Corbett. Young said no to both questions.

Both attorneys have also noted during their cross-examinations that there are pictures of what appears to be blood splatter on the bottom of Jason Corbett's feet, which they argue would indicate that Jason Corbett was still moving after he was struck.

Assistant District Attorney Greg Brown has said the next witness will be a co-worker of Jason Corbett at Multi Packaging Solutions, where Jason Corbett was a manager. A blood splatter expert is also expected to provide critical testimony in the trial.

​Boxer shorts were introduced. Defense wanted to make clear that Lt. Frank Young did not take pictures of Martens in boxer shorts, the underwear he was wearing the morning of the altercation between Martens and Jason Corbett.

Lt Frank Young works for the Davidson County Sheriff's Office. Young is the crime scene supervisor who oversaw the collection of evidence and took photographs of Molly and Thomas Martens.

Earlier: Defense attorneys in the Jason Corbett murder trial in North Carolina today ​lodged pointed questions at a Davidson County sheriff's investigator on why he did not collect certain evidence, including ​what the attorney for Molly Martens, Walter Holton, said was a hair on Jason Corbett's right hand.

​During opening statements, Holton argued that the hair belonged to Molly Martens and helped corroborate her story that Jason Corbett was strangling her when her father struck Jason Corbett with a baseball bat.

Jason Corbett died of blunt-force trauma to the head. A medical examiner testified last week that Corbett was struck at least 12 times.

The line of questioning points to the key issue in the case - whether Molly Martens and Thomas Martens intentionally beat Jason Corbett to death with a baseball bat and a concrete paving brick or whether the two killed Jason Corbett in an act of self-defense and the defense of others.

Molly and Thomas Martens, a former FBI agent, are charged with second-degree murder. They deny the charge.

​"Did you see her in the fetal position on the ground?" Holton asked Lt. Frank Young of the Davidson County Sheriff's Office. Young is the crime scene supervisor who oversaw the collection of evidence and took photographs of Molly and Thomas Martens. He specifically took pictures of Molly Martens at the request of an officer because Molly Martens had told investigators that she had been choked.

Young told Holton he did not see Molly Martens in the fetal position nor did he see any signs that she had vomited or suffered from nausea.

Holton showed a picture of Molly Martens that had already been entered into evidence. Holton pointed to what he said was a mark on her neck just under her ear.

"It appears to be dried blood," Young said.

Holton responded, "Did you test it? Did you sample it? ...Why didn't you get a sample of it?"

Holton asked Young about his training in the collection of evidence and whether he had specific training in collecting evidence in strangulation cases. Young said he had not and that he had attended a domestic violence training conference in the early 2000s.

​​But he did say that it would be important for an alleged victim to describe the method of strangulation​ - whether it was by hand or rope. ​​He asked ​Young ​whether it would be relevant if she had redness around her neck. Paramedics who were at the scene reported that Molly Martens had a light redness around her neck, saying it looked more like a sunburn.

Assistant District Attorney Greg Brown objected several times during Holton's questioning.

Earlier ​this morning, Young, through questioning from prosecutors, introduced both the bat and the concrete paving brick to jurors.

Jurors were able to examine the brick, which was placed in a clear plastic container, from all sides.

Young testified that there was hair on the brick that was collected and sent to the State Crime Lab.

There will be testimony ​later today ​from several experts from the State Crime Lab who will present their analysis of the physical evidence.

Also expected to testify is a co-worker of Jason Corbett​'s​ at Multi Packaging Solutions, where Corbett was a manager.

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