Family: Key evidence not heard by jury in Martens trial

Jason Corbett.

The family of a father and daughter jailed for the murder of their Irish son-in-law and husband claim that key evidence was not put before the jury which convicted them.

The claim comes ahead of tonight’s airing on US television of an hour-long CBS documentary on the killing of Jason Corbett, entitled In the Name of Jason.

Molly Martens Corbett, aged 35, and her father Tom, aged 68, a retired FBI agent, were convicted of the second-degree murder of the Limerick man, aged 39, at his US home at Panther Creek, North Carolina, on August 2, 2015.

Mr Corbett, the father of two young children, was bludgeoned to death by an aluminium baseball bat and paving stone while he slept.

The American woman first met Mr Corbett when she moved to Limerick as his children’s nanny following the death of his first wife, Mags Fitzpatrick, due to an asthma attack.

She subsequently married Mr Corbett in 2011 in the US, following the businessman’s relocation there. The Martens pair pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed self-defence was the reason behind their deadly actions.

Mike Earnest, a brother-in-law and uncle of the convicted pair, issued a statement on behalf of their family in which he said “facts and arguments” have now been put before the Court of Appeals, revealing “key evidence that was never heard by the jury”.

He said:

This evidence would exonerate Tom and Molly and strongly support the testimony given by Tom at trial, as to precisely what occurred during the early morning of August 2, 2015.

Mr Earnest finished his statement by adding that the family has “every confidence the NC Court of Appeals will make a thorough examination of the facts presented and make the only correct ruling”.

The father and daughter, who are now serving 20-25 years in jail, 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 they fail to win a retrial with the Court of Appeals, their only option is the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Earlier this week, Mr Corbett’s sister Tracey Corbett Lynch, the legal guardian of her brother’s children, who now live with her in Limerick, said the pair did not just murder him, but they destroyed his good name.

“This and other documentaries are being made whether his loved ones participate or not,” she said.

“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.”

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