herald

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Wife of Irish dad-of-two goes on trial accused of his murder

Molly Martens and her father, retired FBI agent Thomas, have pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder of Molly’s husband, Jason Corbett
Molly Martens and her father, retired FBI agent Thomas, have pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder of Molly’s husband, Jason Corbett

An American former nanny and her father have pleaded not guilty to murdering an Irish father-of-two and will argue they acted solely in self-defence.

The murder trial of Molly Martens (35) and her father, retired FBI agent Thomas Michael Martens (67), opened before Judge David Lee in Lexington, North Carolina.

The trial began with the selection process for a jury of 12 from a panel of 143 people.

All gathered in Courtroom C of the Davidson Superior Courts complex as temperatures soared across the south-eastern US state.

Judge Lee said he expects the trial to last between two and three weeks, or possibly even longer.

The father and daughter are charged with the second-degree murder of Limerick man Jason Corbett (39) two years ago.

Truth

Ms Martens appeared in court wearing a grey blazer and blue dress, while her father wore a dark blue suit.

Neither spoke during the hearing but both were asked to stand to identify themselves to the jury panel.

Judge Lee said that, to help accelerate the selection process, the entire 143-strong jury panel would be asked to complete a detailed 16-page questionnaire.

This questionnaire includes a list of all potential witnesses in the trial.

Thomas Martens
Thomas Martens

"You will try to find the truth and reach a verdict or verdicts in this case," Judge Lee said.

"You alone will determine the truth."

Judge Lee noted that the jurors did not volunteer and were randomly chosen by the Davidson County jury commission.

The judge said it was "very important" that all jurors complete the questions and circle the names of any potential witnesses they may know.

Jurors were also told they should indicate if they had previously heard or read about the trial matters involved.

It is expected that, as well as 12 jurors, the trial will also see a number of alternate or replacement jurors being sworn in.

Selecting a jury could take until tomorrow. Once the selection process concludes, Greg Brown will open the case for the prosecution.

Mr Corbett was found lying in a pool of blood with fatal head injuries on August 2, 2015, in his home at the Meadowlands complex, where he moved with his children to build a new life with his second wife, Molly.

Mr Corbett's first wife, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick, who suffered from asthma all her life, died tragically in November 2006 from a severe attack.

Mr Corbett met Ms Martens in 2008 after he advertised for a nanny/au pair.

Ms Martens, who hailed from outside Knoxville, Tennessee, replied to the advert and moved to Ireland.

Injuries

A relationship eventually developed between them, and they married in 2011.

Because she was homesick for the US, Mr Corbett decided to relocate his family.

Davidson County police received an emergency call in the early hours of August 2, saying that Mr Corbett had sustained serious head injuries.

He was pronounced dead shortly after paramedics attended the scene.

Mr Martens was visiting his daughter and son-in-law that weekend.

In pre-trial submissions it emerged that Mr Martens claimed he only struck Mr Corbett with a baseball bat after intervening in a row between the couple.

His legal team will also argue he acted in self-defence, because he feared for the lives of his daughter and himself.

Prosecutors will argue that the fatal incident happened against a backdrop of Mr Corbett wishing to move back to Ireland with his children but without Ms Martens.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News