Jury to resume deliberations in Jason Corbett murder trial

The jury in the Jason Corbett murder trial resumes its deliberations later today.

The nine women and three men began considering their verdict last night in North Carolina.

Mr Corbett's wife Molly Martens and her father Thomas Martens deny second degree murder.

The Limerick man was beaten to death with a baseball bat at his home two years ago.

Ms Martens Corbett, 33, and her father, former FBI agent Thomas Martens, are each charged with second-degree murder.

Molly Martens Corbett

Jason Corbett, 39, was found bludgeoned to death in the master bedroom of his house at 160 Panther Creek Court in the Meadowlands, a golf-course community in Davidson County.

He lived there with Molly, his second wife, and his two children, Jack and Sarah, from his first marriage.

He met Molly in 2008 when he hired the American as an au pair for Jack and Sarah and the two soon began dating, culminating in a marriage in 2011.

In closing arguments yesterday, Assistant District Attorney Alan Martin loudly banged the 28-inch Louisville Slugger baseball bat against the prosecution’s table that he said Thomas Martens used to beat Jason Corbett with. Later, he slammed a concrete paving brick that prosecutors allege Molly Corbett used to strike Jason Corbett with.

"They killed him," Martin said, walking to the defense table and pointing at Martens and Molly Corbett. "He killed him with a bat. She killed him with that brick."

"They did it without justification, without legal excuse," Martin continued.

Martin went through the gruesome crime-scene and autopsy photos.

"They literally beat the skin off his skull with that bat and that brick," he said. "They, acting in concert, her and him, literally crushed his skull, turned it into something that looked like a bad Humpty-Dumpty cartoon."

Thomas Martens

David Freedman and Jones Byrd, Martens’ attorneys, argued that the physical evidence actually corroborate Martens’ version of events - that he struck Jason Corbett to protect his daughter.

Byrd said the jury should be concerned about everything it didn’t see - the recorded statements from Martens and Molly Corbett, for example.

He said Stuart James, the blood-stain pattern expert, couldn’t even be bothered to go to the house or review reports from paramedics. James didn’t use accurate diagrams of the house when drawing his conclusions, Byrd said.

Investigators also didn’t take pictures of Martens in the plaid boxer shorts he was wearing, he said. The only pictures of Martens were taken over four hours later at the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office where he gave a voluntary statement, Byrd said.

"He doesn’t have to prove one thing to you," Byrd said about Martens. "It’s their (prosecutors’) burden. They want to use their lack of evidence against him. Folks, don’t let them do that."

Freedman said Martens was fighting to protect himself and his daughter.

Jason Corbett and Molly Martens

"Tom Martens woke from a dream into a nightmare sometime before 3am Sunday August 2," he said.

"Before he heard noises, he thought he was there to visit his grandchildren, his daughter and his son-in-law."

But once he heard the noises, he grabbed the metal baseball bat he had planned to give Jack the next day and went upstairs.

"He spent his life defending our country ... he has served us. He has protected us," Freedman said. "That’s what Martens knows how to do, to protect."

And the last thing, Freedman said, Martens would ever expect to see is his son-in-law Jason with his hands around his daughter’s throat. Martens did what he had to do to protect his daughter, not exact revenge on Jason for smoking and drinking at a pre-wedding celebration at his house in 2011, Freedman said.

Freedman noted that Jason Corbett had been diagnosed with depression and had a thyroid condition that he wasn’t taking medication for. He also had seven beers, he said.

Two weeks before he died, Jason Corbett said he was stressed and becoming angry for no reason, Freedman said.

"Prosecutors keep mentioning the number of blows - at least 12 to the head - as proof of excessive force", Freedman said.

"It’s not", he argued.

The jury will have to decide whether Martens used the necessary amount of force to deal with the threat, which was Jason, Freedman said.

Martin said the physical evidence suggested that not only did Molly Corbett and Martens use excessive force but that they tried to cover it up.

He said Martens waited two minutes before calling 911. Martens testified that he waited two minutes to collect himself and there were several more minutes while Molly Corbett found a phone so he could call 911.

Martin said Molly Corbett was not strangled. Martin also questioned why Sharon Martens, Molly’s mother and Martens’ wife, never heard anything or called 911, if there was indeed a life-and-death struggle going on as described by Martens.

"Jason did not have to die," Martin said. "He did not have to die in his own bedroom. He did not have to die with his children at the top of the steps ... He did not have to die at the hands of the woman he came to America for.

"He did not have to die at the hands of her father. None of that happen ... You have a duty to return a verdict that will deliver justice for Jason."

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