herald

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Molly murder trial set to begin as jury agreed

Molly Martens denies killing her husband, Jason Corbett
Molly Martens denies killing her husband, Jason Corbett

A jury is today due to hear opening statements in the murder trial of Molly Martens (33) and her father, retired FBI agent Thomas Martens (67).

Both have pleaded not guilty at Davidson County Superior Court in North Carolina to the second degree murder of Ms Martens' husband, Irish businessman Jason Corbett.

The Limerick father-of-two was found dead in an upstairs bedroom at his luxury home in Panther Creek, North Carolina early on August 2, 2015.

Mr Corbett (39) had fatal head injuries, apparently inflicted by a baseball bat and another implement.

Violence

Both his wife and his father-in-law claim self-defence and defence of another.

Alan Martin, prosecuting, has said the trial will involve an element of alleged domestic violence. He has also confirmed that two of Mr Martens' sons will offer defence evidence.

Mr Corbett's first wife died from an asthma attack in 2006 when their two children were aged under three years.

He then met Ms Martens, a Tennessee woman, when she replied to his advert for a nanny. A relationship developed between them and they married in 2011.

They relocated to North Carolina the following year when Ms Martens complained of feeling homesick.

Five full days in the case last week were devoted to selecting a jury from 143 Davidson County residents.

Jason Corbett
Jason Corbett

Late on Friday evening, a jury of nine women and three men was finally agreed by the prosecution and defence teams.

However, the court must this morning agree two alternative or replacement jurors given the potential length of the trial.

They will be used only if one of the original jurors is unable to continue until it concludes.

Judge David Lee has indicated that he hopes to open the trial this afternoon. It is expected to last more than three weeks.

Members of Mr Corbett's family have travelled to America for the trial, including his sister, Tracey, brother, Wayne, and brother-in-law, David.

Jury members have been warned that some photographs of the Panther Creek home will be both "gruesome", depicting blood-spatters on the bedroom floor and walls.

Under North Carolina law, a verdict can only be returned in a serious criminal trial by unanimous jury verdict.

The case has attracted substantial media attention in the US with major networks covering the trial.

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