A sister of father-of-two Jason Corbett, who was murdered by his wife and father-in-law, has thanked family, friends and the public for their support following news of a major US TV network documentary.
Jason, 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, 35, 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 19 months ago.
The American woman first met Jason when she moved to Limerick as his children’s nanny following the death of his first wife, Mags Fitzpatrick. She subsequently married Mr Corbett in 2011 in the US following the businessman’s relocation there.
The Martens pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed self-defence. They have since appealed their convictions and are currently awaiting the outcome of the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruling which 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.
In a post on her Facebook page, Jason's sister Tracey Corbett Lynch revealed that several more documentaries were made about her brother and what happened to him. She and her family have participated in the award-winning programme, ‘48 Hours’ to be aired by US TV network giant, CBS.
Tracy, who is now the legal guardian of her late brother’s two children Jack and Sarah, said: “Thank you everyone for always being there with your endless support in the most difficult of times and decisions. This is what Jason’s parents, friends, sisters, twin and children decided upon and wanted (taking part in the documentary).
“For anyone who knows Jason knew this would be what he would want. There is no ambiguity here. This is the reason those who loved and knew him participated.”
She added: “This and other documentaries are being made whether his loved ones participate or not. We collectively decided we would no longer leave the Martens (Molly and Tom’s family) continue to disrespect Jason or Mag’s (Jason’s first wife and mother of his children) memory without challenge again.
Just because someone is dead, you never stop defending them. In fact you must stand up for them when they cannot. Be brave and speak out for those who have no voice.
In a statement on the Facebook site, Jason’s Journey, she said that she and other family members have sworn to fulfil “three solemn vows” to their brother, son and father.
“Firstly, to do everything in our power to assist the US authorities to deliver justice on those responsible for my brother Jason's cruel and senseless killing. Thanks to the professionalism of Davidson County prosecutors and the courage of the good people of North Carolina, Tom Martens and his daughter, Molly, were convicted in August 2017 of the second-degree murder of Jason.
“They are now serving 20-25 years in North Carolina prisons.They have never shown one ounce of remorse for beating a helpless father to death as he slept. Jason's wife and father-in-law, two people he should have been able to trust implicitly, took his life in the most appalling circumstances. They left his adored children, Jack and Sarah, orphaned.”
The statement added that their “second solemn vow was to protect Jason's good name.
"Our third vow was to provide Jason's children, Jack and Sarah, with all the love, care and protection that he would have wanted as a proud Irish father.
“Tom and Molly Martens did not seek just to kill our brother - they also sought to destroy his good name and reputation. Even before their 2017 trial, they had given an interview to a US TV channel in which they levelled unfounded and scurrilous allegations against Jason.
“These appalling allegations caused enormous hurt and upset to Jason's family, friends and work colleagues both in Ireland and the US. It speaks volumes of the type of people that Tom and Molly Martens are that they never once raised those same allegations during their murder trial.
“The decision taken by family members and friends of Jason to participate in the award-winning '48 Hours' programme by the US TV channel CBS is part of our ongoing commitment to fulfil that second solemn promise to Jason - to challenge every lie and scurrilous allegation levelled against his good name by those who will resort to anything in their bid to evade justice for their crimes."
“We felt the allegations levelled by Tom and Molly Martens needed to be publicly challenged in the US - and that is the reason for our involvement with the CBS programme.We will never falter in our campaign to ensure that Tom and Molly Martens serve the full sentence handed down by a North Carolina court for their terrible crime.”
Ms Corbett Lynch added that they will also never tire of defending the good name and honourable reputation of a dearly loved father, brother, son, uncle, friend, as well as a proud Limerick native and Irishman.
She also pointed out that no payment was received for any participation in the documentary and that it is endorsed by their parents Rita and John Corbett.