“Jason was unarmed, he was struck when he was lying down in the middle of the night. Two people battered him until he was dead and then battered him even more.”
Those were the words of Tracey Lynch just minutes after Molly and Thomas Martens were sent to prison for at least 20 years for the gruesome killing of her brother Jason Corbett.
The jury in the case took just over three hours to decide unanimously that the beating the Limerick man received at the hands of his 33-year-old wife Molly and her father Thomas, aged 67, using a paving brick and a metal baseball bat, constituted second degree murder.
“On August 2, 2015, my niece and nephew [Sarah and Jack] were made orphans in a brutal, merciless killing,” Ms Lynch told reporters outside Davidson County Courthouse.
“My parents lost their child, and we lost the most wonderful brother and friend.
“One of them swung a heavy metal baseball bat at Jason. One of them used a brick, a brick that had been on her nightstand. When we sat through the evidence, we found those details so unbelievable. Who keeps a brick on their nightstand?”
A sister of Jason Corbett speaks outside the court house after his wife and father-in-law were found guilty of second-degree murder pic.twitter.com/e4ndlzON9o— RTÉ News (@rtenews) August 9, 2017
After the jury delivered its verdict and as she was being led out of the courtroom, Ms Martens said: “I’m sorry, Mom. I wish he’d have killed me.”
Later, when she was given the opportunity to speak before Judge David Lee sentenced her, Ms Martens said: “I did not murder my husband. My father did not murder my husband.
“The events of August 2 happened on a regular basis. The difference is that my father was there.”
She claimed the jury “did not hear all the evidence”.
Jack Corbett, Jason’s son from his marriage to his late wife, Mags Fitzpatrick, called the woman who was his nanny before becoming his step-mother, a murderer, according to a victim impact statement which he wrote and which was read out in court.
“Molly Martens will not be forgotten,” the 12-year-old said. “She will always be remembered as the woman who killed her husband for no reason. She will be remembered as a murderer.”
Ms Martens collapsed into tears when she heard the statement. During her four-year marriage to Mr Corbett, she had tried to adopt Jack and his sister, Sarah, now 10, but Mr Corbett refused to allow it.
Jack’s victim impact statement went on to describe how his father was always cheering him on in sports, school, and life.
“I don’t have that from him anymore,” he said. “He won’t be there for me when I get married or have kids. He will miss everything.”
Jack said his father won’t be there to give him advice or see him grow up.
“I can’t ever go to a movie or pass a ball without feeling bad because that’s what me and my dad did,” he said, adding that his sister Sarah has also had a hard time.
“We are seen as the family of the Irish man who was murdered by Molly Martens, who is so bad,” he said. “One thing she is not is a part of the Corbett family.”
Ms Lynch said Jack and Sarah, who she now has custody of along with her husband David, “sometimes have trouble finding joy in the simplest pleasures of life”.
“They are painfully aware there is violence. They cannot trust because adults break their trust,” Ms Lynch said.
Then she read a statement from her mother: “When I close my eyes, all I see is his battered and bruised body lying on the floor.”
During the trial, Davidson County prosecutors focused on physical evidence — blood spatters in the bedroom, their clothes, and on the bed — and the autopsy report to prove that Ms Martens and her father brutally beat Mr Corbett to death with the 28-in Louisville Slugger baseball bat and a concrete paving brick.
A medical examiner testified that Mr Corbett was struck at least 12 times in the head and that he had blunt force trauma injuries on his body.
Tom Aamland, the jury foreman, said the jury was convinced by the physical evidence, particularly the blood spatters and the use of weapons.
However, Michael Earnest, brother-in-law of Thomas Martens, criticised the verdict. “This is the most atrocious miscarriage of justice I’ve ever seen,” he said.
Lawyers for the Martens plan to appeal the verdict.
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