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'Martens should have got death penalty,' says brother of murdered Limerickman Jason Corbett

Molly Martens Corbett, 33, and her father Thomas Martens, 67, a former FBI agent, were convicted of Mr Corbett’s second degree murder by a jury last week after a month-long trial

Molly Martens Corbett, 33, and her father Thomas Martens, 67, a former FBI agent, were convicted of Mr Corbett’s second degree murder by a jury last week after a month-long trial

THE American father and daughter convicted of the murder of Limerickman Jason Corbett should have been tried for first degree murder and faced the death penalty, the eldest brother of the deceased has said.

Molly Martens Corbett, 33, and her father Thomas Martens, 67, a former FBI agent, were convicted of Mr Corbett’s second degree murder by a jury last week after a month-long trial.

The father of two was beaten to death with a paving stone, which was on his wife’s nightstand in the couple’s bedroom, and a 15 ounce aluminium baseball bat in his home in Panther Creek Court, Wallburg, North Carolina, in the early hours of Sunday, August 2, 2015.

Both were sentenced to 20 to 25 years in prison for second degree murder, or murder which was not premeditated.

Speaking for the first time since the conviction, brother John Corbett, who lives in England, said the family’s suffering is set to continue as an appeal is likely to be lodged.

“I personally feel they should have being charged with capital one [first degree murder] and should have got the death penalty. They continue to show no remorse. I wish them eternal pain and suffering in prison,” he told the Limerick Leader.

“​But we, as a very close family, can now find some form of closure and comfort knowing Molly Martens and Thomas Martens are in prison where they belong. 

“We will finally mourn Jason and let him rest in peace with his beloved [first] wife Mags. We will continue to grow stronger in our integrity and love for each other, but we will never forget the Martens as a stain on society.”

The death penalty was reintroduced in North Carolina in 1977, but there have been no executions in the state since 2006 due to legal challenges.

Samuel Flippen, 36, of Forsyth County, who was convicted of killing his two year-old stepdaughter, was the last person to be put to death by lethal injection in North Carolina.

John Corbett, one of five brothers of the deceased, also urged people not to donate to the fund set up by the Martens family to raise $300,000 towards their legal costs, particularly in lodging an appeal over what they claim was a “wrongful conviction.”

Mr Corbett said that “anyone who donates to it are condoning cold calculating murder and do not respect the law of the land in the US, and do not deserve to be called US citizens. They should donate their money to the relatives of murder victims in North Carolina.”

He said his brother died at the hands of “cold unapologetic killers” and they would not wish what they have endured over the past two years on any family. 

An 11-minute TV interview with ABC news with both convicted family members, which was recorded prior to sentencing, aired in the US on Friday night last, which has compounded the Corbett family’s suffering.

“From day one they have showed no remorse,” he added. 

He praised his “wonderful family who endured all the horror in the court for four weeks, yet held their dignity and composure in the face of pure evil.”

In the event of an appeal, he said he hopes that the US justice system continues to see “through their total remorseless lies.”

He earlier described his youngest brother Jason, born 15 minutes after his twin brother Wayne in February 1976, as a “6’2 teddybear, who wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

He said Martens Corbett “always seemed a bit distant” to him, when she arrived into their lives to work as an au pair for the children, following the tragic death of Jason's first wife, Mags Fitzpatrick, from an asthma attack in 2006.

They married in Tennessee in 2011, where the Martens family are from, after she moved to Limerick in 2008.

“Most of the family advised him not to go to America and marry her,” he said.

Mr Corbett said the family “are very humbled by the amazing support from the people of Limerick and the US, and my colleagues here in the NHS in the UK.”

“I would also like to thank the amazing hard work of the District Attorney's office and the Davidson county sheriff department,” he said.

Meanwhile, calls by the public to shut down the online fundraising campaign by the Martens family have been rejected.

The moderators of the GoGetFunding page have been flooded with a series of complaints regarding the site.

The page, which was set up by Ms Martens’ aunt, Mona Earnest in the US, seeks to raise $300,000 to help them to pay for their continuing legal costs in lodging an appeal and to also “fight the wrongful death suit.”

While the wording of the campaign has been changed, and some references to alleged abuse by Mr Corbett against his wife have been removed, the page will not be taken down.

“We are an impartial site that allows those facing legal costs the opportunity to raise funds from their family, friends and supporters in order to ensure they are able to employ the best legal defence they can afford - as is their absolute right,” said a spokesperson in a statement.

“We have no intentions at this time to remove this campaign, as it would set a precedent for all future legal defence campaigns and appeals – which, if someone did not have the opportunity to seek adequate legal defence could potentially lead to a mistrial, miscarriage of justice or any other number of potential outcomes.”

Supporters of the Corbett family have reacted angrily online to the creation of the page, just days after they were both unanimously found guilty of his second degree murder. 

“Molly and Tom put the Corbett family through sheer hell and continue to do so through their extended family. Stop,” wrote one person.

Nearly $14,000 had been raised from 80 backers, with the minimum donation accepted being increased to $20.

The page –  called ‘Right the Wrong, Help Molly and Tom’ – outlines that the legal expenses already borne by the Martens family has “gutted the family financially”.

“We desperately need your help,” it states.

Ms Earnest has now been subjected to abuse on her Facebook page for initiating the page.

Her profile picture is of her with her husband Mike, and Mr Corbett’s two children, Jack and Sarah.

There have been calls on the open social media page for the image to be removed.

The image used on the fundraising page is of a smiling Ms Martens Corbett and her father on the day they were charged with Mr Corbett's second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

The latter charge was later dropped, before being reinstated as a second option for the jury to consider.

Separate to the criminal case, a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the Corbetts seeking damages for his death.

Michael Earnest, a brother of Martens-Corbett's mother Sharon, said the family believe the "most atrocious miscarriage of justice" has been committed. 

"Our family is decimated by what has happened. The sheer vitriol and viciousness directed towards the extended family here is literally spine-chilling. The extended family have not broken the law, we are only trying to support our loved ones," said Mr Earnest.

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