herald

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Molly murder trial 'to start Monday' - judge

Molly Martens is accused of killing Jason Corbett
Molly Martens is accused of killing Jason Corbett
Jason Corbett

The murder trial of an American father and daughter who deny killing an Irish businessman is likely to hear significant circumstantial evidence relating to how Jason Corbett died.

The revelation came as the painstaking jury selection process for the second degree murder trial of American nanny Molly Martens (33) and her father, retired FBI agent Thomas Michael Martens (67), nears its conclusion after five days in North Carolina.

Judge David Lee said he now hopes the trial will be able to open at Davidson County Superior Court on Monday, though a jury has yet to be formally sworn in.

Both the father and daughter deny the charge and argue self-defence and defence of another.

Mr Corbett was found with fatal head injuries in his luxury North Carolina home at 3am on August 2, 2015. He had been struck about the head with a baseball bat and another implement.

The jury has already been warned it will have to examine photos that might be considered both "gory" and "gruesome".

These include images of Mr Corbett's blood-spattered bedroom as well as blood on the floor, walls, hallway and bathroom of his home.

Relationship

One photo will also show a piece of scalp.

The jury will also have to consider post-mortem photos of the fatal injuries sustained by Mr Corbett.

Ina Stanton, for the prosecution, revealed that there will also be "some circumstantial evidence in this case".

The trial was told, in prosecution submissions to the jury panel, that two of Ms Martens' three brothers, Bobby, Connor and Stewart, are also likely to offer testimony.

This is expected to relate to the nature of the relationship between their sister, father and Mr Corbett.

Key evidence will also be offered by Lieutenant Detective Wanda Thompson, who led the investigation.

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

Members of the Martens family from Knoxville, Tennessee, are also attending.

Over the first four days of the trial, only 10 jurors - seven women and three men - were agreed after the exhaustive selection process and confirmed by both the prosecution and the two defence teams.

Two more - a man and a woman - are still being examined and have yet to be agreed.

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