The family of murdered Limerick man Jason Corbett have made final plans to lay him to rest despite the revived pleas of his wife and “person of interest” in his murder, Molly Martens, for access to his two children, Jack, 10, and Sara, 8.
A lawyer for the children’s stepmother has spoken out about her desperation to stay in contact with the pair despite a judge's ruling that full guardianship of the children would be awarded to Jason’s sister and brother-in-law, Tracey and David Lynch, with whom they returned to Ireland last Saturday.
“[Jason] did choose Molly to be their mother, first as a nanny and then as a mother and he let her raise them,” Marten’s lawyer David Freedman said.
“She would’ve liked to have had more legal rights over the children, but he never granted that.
“The children were living a good life, I saw a number of Mother’s Day cards, drawings of the family.
“All the neighbors believed Molly was their natural mother.”
Jason will be laid to rest this Wednesday following a lengthy wait by the family, determined not to bury him until the children were in Ireland. He will be buried alongside his first wife Mags Corbett, who tragically lost her life when the children were very young due to a severe asthma attack in 2006.
The Limerick man, 39, was found unconscious in his home in North Carolina on August 2 by police investigating an emergency call about a domestic disturbance in the early hours of the morning.
He had received fatal head injuries, believed to have been caused by a baseball bat found at the scene. Both Martens, and her former FBI agent father, Thomas Martens, 69, have been named as “persons of interest” in the murder, although neither have been formally named as suspects.
It has been reported that Thomas Martens was the person to make the 911 call, telling local police that he hit his son-in-law with a baseball bat in defense of his daughter.
The Corbett family have since told the Limerick Leader, however, that they believe there is some kind of cover-up involved. The family have said that they were first told about the incident by Molly’s mother, Sharon Martens, who allegedly said that Molly had pushed Jason and he died as a result of injuries sustained by banging his head during the fall.
Jason’s older brother John told the Limerick Leader that he believed Thomas Martens was involved in a “massive cover-up”.
“You don’t have to be a forensic detective to see this,” he added.
The Martens’ lawyer Freeman has said that they will plead not guilty if charges are brought against them.
Jason’s brother also rejected comments made by supporters of Martens regarding the alleged abusive nature of their marriage saying, “He was a gentle giant. He was 6 ft 2, 18 stone, but he was a big teddy bear and he wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
Support for the Corbett family has been strong in Ireland with hundreds attending a vigil for Jason in Limerick last week hoping for the safe return of his children to Ireland.
Support on the other side of the Atlantic, however, has at times waived in favor of Molly Martens, with supporters claiming she was involved in an unhappy and abusive marriage.
“After surviving years of emotional and physical abuse from her late husband, she [Molly] is now fighting to retain custody of the children she’s raised for years now,” said Molly’s cousin, Amanda Mui.
“Should two children lose the only parent they have left? Should two children be separated from the only real mother they’ve ever had?
“Molly is a wonderful mother; it’s the love she has for her kids that has given her the strength to survive the abuse her late husband put her through. Pray that the courts acknowledge her as the children’s mother and guardian,” she continued.
It has previously been reported that Martens had sought legal advice regarding a divorce and custody of the two children, although her lawyers say that she never acted upon it.
"I believe those things will be the source of the investigation, and I cannot talk about them," Freedman added.
Jason’s body will lie in repose at Cross’s Funeral Home from 5.30pm today, with removal at 7pm to Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Janesboro, Co Limerick.
The funeral mass takes place on Wednesday at midday, with burial afterwards in Castlemungret Cemetery, Co Limerick.
H/T: Evening Herald