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Sentences handed down to Molly and Thomas Martens

Molly and Tom Martens
Molly and Tom Martens

The young son of Irishman Jason Corbett has said his wife "will always be remembered as a murderer" as she was jailed for a minimum of 20 years.

Retired FBI agent Thomas Martens (67) and his daughter, Molly Martens Corbett (33), were convicted of the second degree murder of Limerick father of two Jason Corbett (39) in North Carolina two years ago.

Judge David Lee jailed Ms Martens Corbett for between 20 and 25 years.

Mr Martens was similarly jailed for between 20 and 25 years.

The precise length of both sentences will now be determined by the North Carolina Parole Board.

The father and daughter were sentenced just 15 minutes after the unanimous guilty verdict of second degree murder was returned.

Ms Martens Corbett, sobbing after the verdict, turned to her family in the public gallery and said: "I'm really sorry Mom - I wish they'd just kill me."

The young Tennessee woman also wailed uncontrollably as Jack Corbett (13), Jason's son, had a letter read out on his behalf by Assistant District Attorney Alan Martin in which he said she would always be remembered as "a murderer" and was not a part of the Corbett family.

"She (Molly) has put this burden on this family, and it will not be done until she is put away," he wrote adding - as many in the courtroom cried - "She will always be remembered as a murderer".

He said her actions had deprived himself and his sister of "a kind, loving and adoring father" and left the children orphaned.

"I will never be able to give him a hug, to give him a present, to help me up when I'm down." Jack said of the aftermath of his father's brutal death.

"He will never watch me grow into a teenager, see me get married, or catch a ball," he added.

Before sentencing, Ms Martens Corbett delivered a barely coherent emotional outburst to the court.

Tracey Lynch, Jason's sister, revealed that just days after her younger brother's killing, adoption papers were sent to his elderly parents on Ms Martens Corbett's behalf.

After Jason's children, Jack and Sarah, were brought back to Ireland following a custody battle, the Martens family attempted to get an aircraft to fly over their Limerick school with a banner advertising how to contact Ms Martens Corbett.

Mrs Lynch said the family were now determined to have the children "protected from Molly Martens."

Jason's mother, Rita, urged the court to: "Give Molly Martens and Thomas Martens the same leniency they gave my son."

Ms Martens Corbett's mother, Sharon, and brothers wept in the gallery as the verdict was returned and the sentence was handed down.

Both the father and daughter were immediately taken into custody, placed in handcuffs and taken to a holding area for sentencing.

Members of the Corbett family wept and embraced as the verdict was confirmed.

"My father is not a murderer," she cried.