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Wednesday 18 October 2017

'Who keeps a brick on the nightstand?' asks Jason's sister

Jason Corbett with his children, Jack and Sarah
Jason Corbett with his children, Jack and Sarah

The sister of tragic Jason Corbett said her brother was beaten to death by a wife who kept a "brick on her nightstand".

Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse in Lexington, North Carolina, Tracey Lynch said her brother was defenceless when he was beaten to death by his second wife Molly Martens and her father, retired FBI agent Thomas Martens.

"Jason was unarmed, he was struck when he was lying down in the middle of the night," she said. "Two people battered him until he was dead and then battered him even more.

"One of them swung a heavy metal baseball bat at Jason. One of them used a brick - a brick that had been on her nightstand. When we sift through the evidence, we found those details so unbelievable.

"Who keeps a brick on their nightstand?" she asked, referencing Ms Martens' admission that the brick she used to attack her husband was kept there.

"We were worried the jury might not find the two accused guilty but they did and we thank them for it. We thank them for the ... vindication of Jason.

"The jury have fulfilled their duty and I can promise them that we will fulfil our duty to help create a good future for Jason's children, who he loved.

"I can promise you that our family's going to stick up for Jason's memory, telling the world that this was a good man, Jason was a loving man, and that he was a great father.

"Jason Corbett's family will make sure he will be remembered for what he was, and not how he died."

In a victim impact statement read to the court after the defendants were found guilty of ­second-degree murder, Ms Lynch said the family's grief was compounded by adoption papers sent to them on Ms Martens' behalf just days after she killed him.

Horrified

Following a protracted custody battle, Jack, then aged 10, and Sarah, then eight, were allowed to return to Ireland in the care of Ms Lynch.

However, Jason's grieving family were horrified to discover the Martens family had tried to contract an aviation firm to fly an aircraft over the children's school in Limerick, trailing a banner showing details of how to contact Ms Martens in the US.

Ms Martens also repeatedly attempted to contact the children on social media, Ms Lynch told the court.

During the trial, the jury heard how Jason (39) had blocked legal attempts by his wife to formally adopt Jack and Sarah, who are the children of him and his first wife, Margaret 'Mags' Fitzpatrick. She passed away from an asthma attack in 2006.

The jury was also told that Jason was unhappy in North Carolina and had yearned to return home to Limerick with his two children.

Ms Lynch told the court Jason's children are "now painfully aware there is violence and evil in the world".

She described her younger brother as generous, kind, loving and utterly devoted to his family, children and friends.

"Jason was a loving person and wanted to make everyone around him happy," she said.

"It [the murder] took [the children's] innocence and took their security and it made them orphans."

She said the family are still haunted by how Jason's battered, bloodied and broken body was left lying on his bedroom floor.

The prosecution claimed the pair deliberately delayed calling 911 to make sure he was dead - and then engaged in "fake" cardiopulmonary resuscitation when instructed to by a 911 operator.

Worse still, Ms Lynch said the family learned about his death in a brief 30-second phone call from Sharon Martens, the mother of Ms Martens and wife of Mr Martens.

After the call, the Corbett family tried to contact all three of them for information about what had happened.

"We tried desperately to ring back. But there was not one word. Not one call. Not one letter," said Ms Lynch.

Cruel

Jason's mother, Rita - in a submission read by Ms Lynch - said it was very difficult to keep going given the horror of her son's killing.

"It is so hard to keep going. Our lives will go on. But Jason died in a cruel and brutal way," she said. "It was inhumane and it was barbaric. I would ask the court to give Molly and Thomas Martens the same leniency they gave my son.

"The sentence this court will give will be the last thing to be done for Jason."

Many of Jason's family members, friends and supporters attended every day of the four-week murder trial.

One friend admitted the family are "physically and emotionally exhausted". "They are just looking forward to getting home," they said.

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