Brother of Jason Corbett says prolonged legal proceedings a 'complete nightmare'

Limerick native Jason Corbett died from head injuries after a sustained assault with a brick and a baseball bat at his family home in the town of Wallburg on August 2, 2015.
Brother of Jason Corbett says prolonged legal proceedings a 'complete nightmare'
Jason Corbett

A man whose brother was murdered by his wife and father-in-law has said protracted legal proceedings are a “complete nightmare”.

Jason Corbett, 39, a business executive from Limerick, died from head injuries after a sustained assault with a brick and a baseball bat at his family home in the town of Wallburg on August 2, 2015.

Molly Martens Corbett, 36, and her father Tom, 70, a retired FBI agent with 30 years experience, were convicted of Mr Corbett’s death by a US court in August 2017.

The Martens pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed self-defence was the reason behind their actions.

Both are serving 20 to 25-year jail terms in high security prisons in the US.

A year-long review by the Court of Appeal granted a re-trial for the father and daughter last month.

Several days later, a formal notice was issued by North Carolina Supreme Court clerk Amy Funderburk, confirming that a stay has been granted on a Court of Appeal order.

The North Carolina Attorney General Joshua H Stein, filed a motion to the Supreme Court of North Carolina on the Court of Appeal's decision to grant a re-trial on the pair’s murder conviction.

Michael Corbett, an older brother of Jason’s, who has only just broken his silence on the ongoing legal proceedings said: “It (Jason’s death and legal and court proceedings) has been hard. It is like an never-ending nightmare. We now have to wait again for the decision of the Supreme Court.

“However, we are in constant contact with the District Attorney’s office in North Carolina, and we are kept up to date with what happening.

“(The Martens family) will never speak of or face up to the irrefutable and corroborated facts of the trial. Jason was defenceless while he slept in his own house.

“Jason’s name was always intact and will always will be unblemished no matter how hard it is tried to be dishonoured.

“Associate Chief Medical Examiner Craig Nelson, MD performed the autopsy on Jason's body. Dr Nelson testified that the cause of Jason's death was blunt force head trauma and the manner of his death was a homicide. The facts are the facts.”

Molly and Thomas Martens
Molly and Thomas Martens

In the Court of Appeals review, Mr Martens had argued that it was “unfair” to block him entering specific statements in support of his claim he had been acting in self-defence during the incident in which Mr Corbett was killed.

The case was due to return to Davidson County Superior Court on February 24 although prosecutors had 15 days from that date to lodge a petition to appeal the ruling.

Attorney general Joshua Stein said in motion that, “The State intends to timely file a notice of appeal as of right...based on Judge Collins’ dissent within fifteen days of the Court of Appeals’ mandate.”

Mr Stein’s office said it was continuing to review the court of appeal decision in order to determine its next steps.

Lawyers for the father and daughter said they did not get a fair trial, held in July and August 2017, and that the trial judge had excluded critical evidence in their case.

In their appeal, lawyers for Molly and Thomas Martens argued that the judge in the case had excluded key evidence that would have corroborated their clients' claims.

This included information which they said might have explained Thomas Martens’ state of mind on the night of the murder.

Jason Corbett's US home
Jason Corbett's US home

They argued that statements Mr Corbett’s children had been given to social workers should have been allowed as evidence.

The three judges, in the Court of Appeal ruling, described its ruling as “deceptively simple”, boiling down to whether the defendants lawfully used deadly force to defend themselves and each other during the tragic altercation with Mr Corbett.

A hour-long CBS documentary, aired last April in the US, on Mr Corbett’s killing entitled In the Name of Jason, revealed that key evidence was allegedly not put before the jury which convicted them resulting in the potential for a new murder trial.

Ms Martens was Mr Corbett’s second wife and the couple met when the American woman worked as a nanny in his Co Limerick home.

Mr Corbett’s first wife Mags Fitzpatrick died due to an asthma attack in 2006.

The couple had two children together, Jack and Sarah.

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