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Guilty: Molly Corbett and Thomas Martens handed 20 to 25 year prison sentences

The jury returned its verdicts this afternoon after beginning deliberations yesterday.

Updated at 7.50pm

martens Molly Corbett and Thomas Michael Martens. Source: Davidson County Sheriff's Office

MOLLY CORBETT AND her father, Thomas Martens, have been found guilty of the second-degree murder of Corbett’s husband, Jason Corbett, in North Carolina in August 2015.

Both have been handed 20- to 25-year prison sentences.

The jury delivered its guilty verdict this afternoon after being sent out to begin deliberations yesterday.

Molly Corbett and Thomas Martens had claimed the Limerick father-of-two was choking Molly Corbett and threatening to kill her, and that they acted in self-defence.

Second-degree murder is defined in US law as a deliberate but not premeditated murder.

David Freedman and Walter Holton, lawyers for Martens and Molly Corbett, said they will appeal the decision.

Martens chose not to speak before his sentencing, but for the first time in court, Molly Corbett made a statement as she struggled through tears.

“I did not murder my husband,” Molly Corbett said before the judge announced her sentence.

My father did not murder my husband. The incidents of 2 August happened as they happened on a somewhat regular basis. The only difference is my father was there.

The judge later recommended that Molly Corbett seek psychiatric and psychological help while in prison.

The jury panel, three men and nine women, spent two weeks listening to 21 testimonies and more than 200 pieces of evidence from law enforcement, paramedics, specialised analysts, coworkers of Martens, Molly Corbett’s neighbour and, of course, Martens.

It took over a week for the prosecution and defence to narrow a pool of 143 people to 12 seated jurors and two alternates.

The verdict comes two years and a week after Martens and Molly Corbett killed Jason Corbett with an aluminum baseball bat and a paving stone.

jason Jason Corbett Source: Facebook

Tears

As the verdict was announced, tears of relief streamed down the faces of the Corbett family, while tears of distress washed over the Martens family. Molly Corbett slumped in her chair and began whimpering as her verdict was announced while Martens remained stoic. Many jurors were consumed with emotion as the clerk confirmed each jurors’ verdict.

As she was handcuffed following the verdict, a tearful Molly Corbett said to her mother, Sharon Martens, ”I’m really sorry, mom. I wish they’d just kill me”.

Martens and Molly Corbett claimed Jason Corbett was choking Molly Corbett and threatening to kill her, and they acted in self-defence.

Investigators cast doubt on that defence. Authorities said Jason Corbett was planning to leave Molly Corbett, his second wife and former nanny to his children, and return to Ireland.

Tom Aamland, the jury’s foreperson, said the preliminary vote yesterday was split. He said that for Martens, the originally vote count was 12-0 for second-degree murder. For Molly Corbett, it was 10-2 for second-degree murder. He stated that no juror leaned toward not guilty.

Aamland said two jurors weren’t sure, but then they came to their own conclusion overnight. He said the group took a another vote today and it was unanimous for both Molly Corbett and Martens.

Verdict

In reference to Martens’ testimony, Aamland said the “I don’t knows” and memory of Martens raised suspicion from the jury.

He added that the first question by all the jurors was why there was a brick on Molly Corbett’s night stand — which was never answered during trial. He said the jurors felt Molly Corbett could’ve gotten out of the situation, but she chose to stay.

The foreperson said he felt confident that the jury reached the correct verdict.

“There are no winners in this case,” Aamland said.

“Everybody loses to some degree…Nobody should take any joy in this verdict.”

Read: Molly Corbett will not testify in her own defence on Jason Corbett murder charge

Read: ‘I hit him until I thought he could not kill me’: Thomas Martens testifies at Jason Corbett murder trial

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About the author:

Ben Coley - The Lexington Dispatch

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