THOMAS Martens had told the 911 operator he thought he had killed his son-in-law, and when authorities arrived at the brick house on a golf course in Lexington, N.C., there was little argument.
Jason Corbett was naked on the floor of his bedroom. His head bad been bashed in. A 28-inch Louisville Slugger baseball bat and a concrete brick were found near the body, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
Martens – who spent 31 years as an FBI agent before a career at the Department of Energy in his home state of Tennessee – freely admitted he had attacked Corbett on August 2, 2015.
He told authorities he had stumbled upon the couple fighting during a visit. Jason Corbett was choking Molly Corbett, he claimed. The attack was a rescue. She backed up her father’s story.
But that tale eventually unraveled. Both Molly Corbett and Martens were indicted on a charge of second-degree murder. Davidson County prosecutors said the father and daughter violently attacked Jason Corbett, and then concocting a cover story.
This week, a jury agreed and found them guilty of the crimes.
And yet, the court case’s conclusion still fails answer many of the questions about what happened between the three individuals.
Molly Corbett was Jason Corbett’s second wife. His first wife died in 2006 due a freak asthma attack, according to The Times. At the time, the Irishman was living in Limerick, Ireland, and was left alone to raise two small children: Jack, then-two-years-old, and Sarah, only 12-weeks old.
Eventually, he posted an online ad for a full-time nanny. A response came from Molly Martens, a young woman from Knoxville, Tenn. She was reportedly a former model and competitive swimmer, moved in with the family in Ireland in 2008.
A romance developed and three years later, in 2011, she married Corbett. His company allowed him to transfer to a job at a packing company in Lexington, N.C., not far from Winston-Salem. So Corbett, his two young children and his new wife moved into a brick home on a cul-de-sac in a golf community.
But strain had begun to wear down the marriage. The Independent reported that Corbett would not sign the legal papers allowing Molly to adopt his two children.
His sister, Tracey Lynch, would later testify the Corbett family picked up on bad vibes from Molly: she seemed to lie about her past, at various points “claiming she was an Olympic swimmer, a teacher, a foster parent to a six-year-old boy and a book editor, according to the Independent.
After the murder, Lynch and Molly Corbett went to court, each petitioning a judge for custody of the children. The court sided with Lynch, and the children went to live in Ireland in 2015 – long before the criminal trial would begin.
Criminal charges were filed against Molly Corbett and her father in January 2016. The trial began last month. According to prosecutors, by the time of the murder, the marriage bonds had snapped: Jason Corbett was homesick for Ireland, and contemplated leaving with his children. Molly Colbert had also dropped her connection with her husband, but was desperate to keep her stepchildren.
Her father also was soured on his son-in-law, prosecutors alleged. A co-worker from the Department of Energy testified the former FBI agent admitted, “That son-in-law, I hate him,” according to The Dispatch.
Prosecutor’s added that Jason Corbett had a $600,000 life insurance policy – a further motive for murder.
The state’s case was bolstered by physical evidence. Forensic experts testified that the sheer brutality of the beating — Corbett was bludgeoned 12 times — suggested a one-sided assault, not self-defense. Neither Martens nor his daughter were injury or bore other signs of fighting off Corbett.
After three weeks of trial, the jury returned Wednesday with a verdict after only three hours of deliberation, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. Molly Corbett wept as the guilty verdict for second-degree murder was read, then turned to her mother in the courtroom gallery.
“I’m sorry, mom,” she said. “I wish he would have killed me.”
The judge immediately segued into the sentencing hearing. Victim impact statements were read from Corbett’s family.