AN UNCLE of Molly Martens, who is due to be charged with the second degree murder of her husband, Limerickman Jason Corbett, believes she and her father will be exonerated in the forthcoming trial, in which they will plead not guilty.
Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank confirmed this Monday that the County Grand Jury had indicted Molly Martens Corbett, 32, and her father, Thomas Michael Martens, 65, a former FBI agent, on second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter charges in connection with the killing of Mr Corbett.
The 30 year-old father of two from Janesboro in Limerick was fatally struck with a baseball bat in his home in North Carolina on August 2.
It is expected his second wife and her father will stand trial by the end of the year, and if convicted, the charge of second degree murder - an intentional but not pre-meditated killing - carries a possible life sentence.
Mr Frank said both members of the Martens family would be brought before Davidson County Superior Court in the coming days where they would be formally charged and terms for pretrial release would be decided.
Speaking on Newstalk radio this morning, Mike Earnest, Molly’s uncle, said: “I have known Tom Martens for 44 years and Molly since she was born 32 years ago, there are no finer people you would care to meet.
“The actions of self-defence that Tom and Molly took the morning of August 2nd were completely necessary and justified.”
Mr Earnest also released a statement on Monday, in which he said Jason Corbett’s death was the result of self-defence and that Thomas Martens was the one who called 911.
“Tom has dedicated his entire adult life to law enforcement and believes firmly in the sanctity of the justice system,” Earnest said.
“Since the 911 call Tom made that morning, both Tom and Molly have cooperated fully with the investigation and made themselves available every step of the way. They will both enter pleas of not guilty and once the events of August 2nd are presented, they will be exonerated.”
Garry Frank, the district attorney, said that a special Davidson County grand jury met on December 18 and handed down the indictments that same day.
But he asked that the indictments be sealed until Monday. He said he did so for reasons he cannot discuss.
He also said he would not discuss the facts of the case outside of a trial, including the cause of Jason Corbett’s death. An autopsy report in the case is sealed.
Deputy C.S. Dagenhardt wrote in a report that Deputy D. Dillard responded to an assault call at the couple’s home at 160 Panther Creek Road on August 2, according to the Lexington Dispatch.
While Dillard was on his way, the Davidson County 911 Center told him that the caller had been in an argument with Jason and struck him with a baseball bat, Dagenhardt wrote. Deputies arrived at the home and found a man inside with head injuries, according to the Lexington Dispatch.
In a statement yesterday, Tracey Lynch, Jason’s sister, and her husband, David, welcomed the decision of the grand jury.
“We want to express our appreciation to Davidson county District attorney Gary Frank and Davidson County Sheriff David Grice and his investigators for their hard work and determination to uncover the truth. We want all of the facts to go in front of a jury so that we can all know the truth.
“We continue to grieve over the murder of Jason. Jason’s children are doing well given what has happened. We are thankful that they are in Ireland, surrounded by loving family,” they said.
Following Jason’s death, members of his family flew from Limerick to the United States where they fought an intense custody battle over his two children - Jack and Sarah.
However a judge in North Carolina dismissed an appeal by Ms Martens, who sought custody of the children who are both from Jason’s first marriage to Mags Corbett, who died in 2006 after suffering an asthma attack.
The dismissal of Ms Martens appeal followed a guardianship ruling which was handed down the superior court of North Carolina, which stated that it was in the children’s best interests to live with their aunt.
There have now been calls from the Irish public for Ms Martens to shut down her Facebook page, where she continues to upload photographs daily of the children and issue pleas to contact them, along with her phone number and email address.
Last night, after the indictments were confirmed, she wrote: “I cannot believe the level of slander, harassment, lies and absolute utter corruption. The truth does not matter. Shouldn’t the truth matter? Shouldn’t the truth prevail? Doesn’t anyone care about the truth?”
Since his death, supporters of his family have rallied around the Corbetts, with numerous fundraising pleas, and the Facebook page, Bring Justice for Jason, which counts nearly 20,000 supporters.
Last night they wrote online: “On August 2nd 2015, Jason’s life was violently taken from him in his own home. We have been able to journey through our grief by holding onto our belief in truth, dignity and justice; with nothing but love in our hearts for Jason, being our guiding force.
“Hatred is not a worthy emotion in our hearts, it only gives power to those who are not worthy of sharing the same oxygen.
“Our confidence and trust in the Davidson County Sheriffs Department & the District Attorney has been reaffirmed by today’s decision.
Molly Martens & her Father Thomas Martens have been indicted for murder.
“When some disbelieved or questioned the killing of an innocent man, we always knew Jason for who he really was, a loving father, husband, son, brother and friend. A kind man who lived his life with integrity and generosity of spirit.”
- For more see the Wednesday edition of the Limerick Leader and our weekend papers