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North Carolina

Trial of wife and father-in-law hears of extensive damage to skull of Irishman Jason Corbett

The trial officially began today.

THE JASON CORBETT murder trial officially began today, after the final jurors were selected.

Molly Martens-Corbett, 33, and her 67-year-old father Thomas Martens are charged with murder of Jason Corbett at their home in North Carolina in 2015.

Jury selection in the trial has been ongoing since last week.

Davidson County Assistant District Attorney Alan Martin gave the opening statement for the prosecution. He began with describing the officer and EMS official who arrived to the scene.

“(The sheriff deputy) walked into the master suite, and it was bad,” Martin said.

“What he saw was the naked, dead, bloody body of Jason Corbett and blood just about everywhere.”

Martin said there was blood high on the walls, blood low on the walls and blood in the bathroom. He added that three people were at the residence — Molly Martens Corbett, Corbett’s wife; Thomas Michael Martens, Molly Corbett’s father; and Jason Corbett.

However, only Molly Corbett and Martens walked away with almost no marks on them, he continued.

Later in his statement, Martin said Jason Corbett’s skull was so crushed, that when the examiner performed the autopsy and pulled back his scalp, pieces of skull fell away from the body.

Martin then described the background of Jason Corbett and Molly Corbett’s relationship and detailed perspectives from the next door neighbour, who felt “all was well” leading up to the incident.

Martin said the who, what, where and how of the case is clear. He ended his argument by emphasising the “why?”

“The state’s evidence for why — why didn’t (Martens) stop. Why didn’t he stop?” Martin said.


David Freedman and Walter Holton, lawyers for Martens and Molly Corbett respectively, each gave statements regarding their clients.

Freedman described the bat that was used to kill Jason Corbett as a “17-ounce aluminum” bat that Martens purchased for his 10-year-old grandson Jack.

Freedman said Martens visited Molly Corbett and Jason Corbett with the intention of spending time with his family.

“All he was thinking about doing tomorrow is playing golf with Jason and seeing his grandchildren, and he’s been a dedicated family man all his life,” Freedman said.

Freedman then described the events that led up to the incident. Freedman said Martens heard a noise upstairs, and grabbed the bat while in a polo shirt and underwear, not knowing what he’d find.

“Martens opens the door, and the last thing he thought he’d ever see — Jason’s hands around his daughter’s throat,” Freedman said.

Freedman said Martens pleaded with Jason Corbett to let Molly Corbett go.

The defence lawyer added that Martens then had little choice.

“If he doesn’t stop Jason, then (Jason) is going to take he and Molly out. So he starts whacking,” Freedman said.

After the incident, Freedman described Martens as completely cooperative, including giving statements and DNA samples.

To finish the opening statements, Walter Holton spoke on Molly Corbett’s behalf.

Holton emphasised pictures, including a picture of Jason Corbett allegedly clutching a strand of blonde hair in his hand. He also emphasised a red mark that was allegedly on Molly Corbett’s neck, that could possibly signify choking.

“Look at the mark on her neck,” Holton said. “Look at the hairs that surround it, and look at the hair in (Jason) Corbett’s hand. Where’d that mark come from?” Holton said.

Holton then questioned what happened to the blonde hair in Corbett’s hand such as who collected the hair, who kept it and was it ever tested. He also questioned whether enough evidence was collected from Jason Corbett’s fingernails and whether DNA from Molly Corbett’s neck was under Jason Corbett’s fingernails.

All three opening statements lasted approximately 25 minutes. Now the jury will observe a series of evidence and hear testimonies from several witnesses.

Superior Court Judge David Lee estimates the trial may last up to three weeks.

Ben Coley - The Lexington Dispatch