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Blood spatter expert believes Jason Corbett's head hit wall, court hears

Earlier, the trial heard that Corbett’s father-in-law said he hated him.

Jason Corbett
Jason Corbett

Updated 7.30am, 2 August

A BLOOD SPATTER analyst has said an object may have been used to hit Jason Corbett multiple times.

Stuart James, testifying at the murder trial into the Irishman’s death in North Carolina, spoke about the blood patterns present on the walls of the master bedroom and bathroom in Corbett’s house.

Jason’s wife Molly Martens Corbett (33) and her father Thomas Michael Martens (67) are each charged with second-degree murder in the 2015 death of Corbett, who was originally from Co Limerick.

They claim Jason was choking Molly and threatening to kill her and they acted in self-defence. Investigators have cast doubt on this.

At the trial, James noted several instances of impact spatter and transfer stains along the walls. The analyst said impact spatter is when a force is applied to a liquid blood source, and transfer stains are when a bloody surface makes contact with another surface.

James noted two large transfer stains on one wall, which he believes came from Jason Corbett’s head hitting the wall in a descending motion. One transfer stain was 24 to 28 inches above the floor and the other was five to 16 inches above the floor.

In the proximity of the transfer stains was an indentation located three to four inches above the floor. James believed the indentation came from an object’s impact.

According to the analyst, some of the blood on the bedroom wall appeared to be expirated spatter, meaning the blood came from Jason Corbett breathing or coughing.

In the bathroom, James described transfer stains near a cracked light switch. Above the light switch was an indentation in the wall.

In a later photo, James identified a vacuum cleaner with blood on it. The analyst said due to the blood pattern on the vacuum, he could tell that a person moved the vacuum cleaner from the ground to an upright position before photos were taken.

James also described several impact spatters on Martens’ boxers, red polo shirt and Molly Martens Corbett’s pajamas. In addition to impact spatters, he showed transfer stains and tissue fragments on the shirt and pajamas. Martens’ wristwatch had transfer stains, as well.

In James’ opinion, due to the distribution of blood, he believed the object was used multiple times.

‘I hate him’

Earlier, a co-worker of Thomas Martens testified that Martens indicated disdain for Jason Corbett on two specific occasions before the night Corbett was killed.

Joann Lowry, a colleague of Martens, testified that she worked with Martens in the counterintelligence department of the Department of Energy in Tennessee.

Two months before the incident, Lowry said she asked Martens about a weekend when Molly Corbett, Jason Corbett and his grandchildren came to visit. She told the court:

[Martens] said: ‘We’re always glad to see them come home, but we’re always glad to see them leave. That son-in-law, I hate him.’

NC_LEX_corbett_0801_03 Molly Martens Corbett Source: Donnie Roberts via The Lexington Dispatch

Authorities say Jason Corbett was planning to leave Molly Corbett – his second wife and former nanny to his children – and return home to Ireland.

Lowry also recalled an instance near the time Jason Corbett and Molly Corbett were married in 2011. Lowry testified that she was told by Martens that he hosted a pre-wedding party at his house, but he did not appreciate the behaviour of Jason Corbett.

“[Martens] was not very fond of Jason and his rowdy friends”, Lowry said.

Comments allowed

The prosecution and defence spent most of the morning arguing whether Lowry’s comments should be allowed as evidence. The defence argued that since Molly Corbett and Martens are being tried together, comments specifically about Martens would be hearsay in relation to Molly Corbett and possibly incriminate her.

Superior Court Judge David Lee said he would allow the comments, but inform the jury that the comments by Lowry concern Martens only and not Molly Corbett.

Jason Corbett died on 2 August 2015. Davidson County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a report that day of an assault at the Corbetts’ home at Panther Creek Court in Wallburg.

Comments are closed as the trial continues.

Read: Jason Corbett trial: No fingerprints found on baseball bat, court hears>

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About the author:

Ben Coley - The Lexington Dispatch

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