Tom and Molly Martens, the father and daughter convicted of killing Irishman Jason Corbett in the US, did not know about a life insurance policy Mr Corbett had until after his death, their family claim.
Jason Corbett, 39, was found with fatal head injuries at the home he shared in the US with his second wife, Molly Martens Corbett in Walburg, North Carolina on August 2, 2015.
Ms Martens Corbett, 34, and her father Tom, 68, a retired FBI agent, were convicted of the second-degree murder of the father of two at his home at Panther Creek, North Carolina 19 months ago. Jack and Sarah, Mr Corbett’s children were in the family home at the time their father was murdered.
The Martens pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed self-defence was the reason behind their deadly actions.
Mr Martens has agreed to pay €160,000 to settle a wrongful death action taken in the US by Mr Corbett’s estate. The proceeds will go to Mr Corbett's two children, who are being raised by his sister and brother-in-law, Tracey and David Lynch, at their Limerick home.
An uncle and brother-in-law of the Martens, Mike Earnest speaking on behalf of the family following news of the settlement was made public said: “Neither Molly, Sharon (mother and wife of the convicted pair), nor Tom were aware of this life insurance policy, through his employment, until after his death.
“Molly, Sharon and Tom have signed this settlement for the sole purpose to provide for Jack and Sarah. As a stipulation of the settlement, Molly, Tom and Sharon insisted that an independent trustee be appointed to ensure that all of the funds allocated be used solely for the benefit of Jack and Sarah.
“Molly, Tom and Sharon did not admit any liability in Jason Corbett’s death. Molly was dismissed from the lawsuit in conjunction with court documents filed on her behalf renouncing claims to Jason Corbett’s life insurance policy.”
Mr Earnest added: "We look forward to a decision by the North Carolina Court of Appeals to immediately set Tom and Molly Martens free or give them a new and fair trial.”
The settlement followed a lengthy mediation process and was without admission of liability.
Ms Martens Corbett first met Jason when she moved to Limerick from the US, as his children’s nanny following his first wife’s death Mags Fitzpatrick. The American woman subsequently married Mr Corbett in 2011.
The trial, which resulted in the jailing of the two, heard in the summer of 2017, that Mr Corbett, a company manager was bludgeoned to death with a paving stone kept on his second wife’s nightstand.
An aluminium youth baseball bat, that weighed less than half a kilo, was also used up to 12 times by Mr Martens, who claimed it was used to get Jason to release his stranglehold on his daughter Molly.
Documents were subsequently lodged by North Carolina state prosecutors, acting for the Davidson County District Attorney's Office, in response to the appeals by Molly and Tom Martens against their convictions.
The State’s case is that the father and daughter fabricated the self-defence story to explain their murder of Mr Corbett.
The Corbett family firmly believe that he was attacked and killed because he planned to move back to Ireland with his two children due to concerns over the increasingly bizarre behaviour of Ms Martens who had a history of mental health issues.
The outcome of the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruling is not expected for a number of months. If the father and daughter fail to win a retrial with the Court of Appeal, their only option is the North Carolina Supreme Court.