THE murder trial of Molly Martens and her retired FBI agent Thomas Martens, has opened in the US as the father and daughter deny the unlawful killing of Limerick father of two Jason Corbett at his home in the early hours of August 3, 2015.
Molly (36) and her 66-year-old retired father both deny a count of second degree murder at 160 Panther Creek Court, Winston Salem, North Carolina.
This week, after many heated pre trial battles for both custody of Jason’s orphaned children, and what could be given in evidence in the murder trial, prosecutors and defence lawyers went through the process of selecting 12 jurors from a panel of over 120.
Molly and her father Thomas are pleading self defence in the bludgeoning to death of the 39-year-old widowed father, while the State prosecutors are seeking to prove that the father and daughter were the aggressors in a colluded attack amid claims Jason wanted to return to Ireland without her.
The trial is expected to last a number of weeks before Davidson County Superior Court.
Jason Corbett suffered serious head wounds and died as a result of blunt force traumas inflicted by a baseball bat and concrete paving slab.
The 999 call made by Thomas Martens claimed that Jason got in a fight with his daughter and he “intervened” leaving the Limerick man “in bad shape”.
However, investigators said there were inconsistencies in their stories and the evidence found so the father and daughter were arrested and charged with second degree murder and of involuntary manslaughter – a charge that was dropped.
After they were charged, the father and daughter were bailed on $200,000 bonds and were returned for trial.
During pre trial motions, legal teams for the Martens’ sought to have certain evidence excluded from the trial as well as seeking to have the whole hearing moved to a different jurisdiction.
After Jason’s killing, a protracted and bitter row ensued over the custody and guardianship of the Limerick man’s two children.
Tracey Lynch and her husband David, were appointed to be the children’s guardians as per Jason’s will.
However, Molly, who had sought to adopt the children before Jason’s death, mounted several court challenges to gain custody of Jack and Sarah.
Molly maintained her bid despite Jason’s wishes to the contrary, but eventually failed after the US courts dismissed her applications.
The children’s mother, Margaret Fitzpatrick Corbett, Jason’s first wife, died in November 2006 after suffering a sudden asthma attack. The 39-year-old father remarried after he struck up a relationship with Molly Martens who had been hired as an Au Pair to help the widowed Limerick man.