The widow and father-in-law of Limerick man Jason Corbett (39) have been charged with his murder. The father-of-two was allegedly beaten to death with a baseball bat at his home in North Carolina, on Aug 2 2015.
A Grand Jury indicted Molly Martens (31), his widow, and her father Thomas Martens (65) with counts of second degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.
Davidson County Assistant District Attorney Greg Brown said the indictments had been unsealed and the Martens’ had been informed on Monday.
Following Corbett’s murder in August his children Jack (11) and Sarah (10), whose mother Mags passed away due to asthma, were placed in the custody of his sister Tracey Lynch and her husband David following a prolonged legal battle with the accused, Molly Martens.
In November 2006 Corbett’s wife Margaret (Mags) Fitzpatrick Corbett died leaving her husband with two young children. Corbett hired Martens as the children’s au pair, they became very close and the couple married in 2011. Martens never adopted the children legally.
After the murder Martens sought custody of the two children, Sarah and Jack. She claimed in court that she had a greater right to bring up the children than Corbett’s sister. Martens lost the case but is appealing the decision. She has also mounted a social media campaign to garner support.
Responding to the news of the Martens’ indictment Lynch said “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.”
Jack and Sarah are now living with their family in Limerick. Lynch added “Jason's children are doing well given what has happened. We are thankful that they are in Ireland, surrounded by loving family.”
Martens and her father, a former FBI investigator were questioned following the murder but were never named as suspects.
In August 911 responders received a call from a man saying he had had an argument with his son-in-law and struck him with a baseball bat. The caller was believed to be Thomas Martens. Corbett was found in his Winston-Salem home, in North Carolina, with fatal head injuries.
On Monday night, Martens, a former model, posted a statement to Facebook saying “I cannot believe the level of slander, harassment, lies and absolute utter corruption” and asking “Doesn't anyone care about the truth?"
On the Justice for Jason Facebook page messages welcomed the news of the Martens’ indictment and praised the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney.
Speaking about the indictment DA Brown told the Irish Independent “Second degree murder means killing with malice and voluntary manslaughter means killing without malice. The Grand Jury found that there was sufficient probable cause for each of the charges.
“It is expected they will appear on the charges before a judge this week."
The DA said bail, and other matters, will be discussing during the court hearing this week. The trial is expected to begin later this year.
Brown said "In the next day or so, the sheriff's department will be expected to process matters which will include fingerprinting and taking photographs of them.
"Their lawyer was contacted by the district attorney's office and he would have been asked to ascertain when he will make his clients available to come to court so that bail can be set and other matters dealt with.”
Under North Carolina’s laws anyone convicted of second degree murder faces 12 years to life imprisonment.
In August 2015, three weeks after his murder, Corbett’s body was flown home to Ireland where he was buried, in Limerick.