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Blood soaked Police tapes show injury free Tom Martens call Jason Corbett 'abusive' after brutal killing

'I hit him, I hit him with the baseball bat, I was scared to death he was going to kill her'

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Thomas Martens had blood on his shirt.

Thomas Martens had blood on his shirt.

Thomas Martens had blood on his shirt.

The police tape starts recording at 6.31am on the morning of August 2, 2015, as Tom Martens walks into the white-bricked interrogation room at Davidson County Sheriff’s office, rubbing his hands together.

At 3.02am that night, he made a 911 call from 160 Panther Creek Court, an all-American house in an upmarket suburb in South Carolina, telling an operator his Irish son-in-law, Jason Corbett is “bleeding all over” before calmly adding: “I think I may have killed him”.

First responders found a harrowing scene – with a bedroom covered in blood splatter and the dead body of the Limerick father-of-two.

Three-and-a-half hours later, a white-haired, bespectacled Tom Martens is still wearing the blood-stained clothing from the scene of the killing as he sits into a wooden chair to make his statement on the events which led to the death of the Limerick man.

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Jason and Molly.

Jason and Molly.

Jason and Molly.

 

The police recordings of the interviews  with the composed FBI agent and his sobbing daughter – conducted in neighbouring rooms just a few hours after the killing – are examined in a new Virgin Media documentary, The Murder Files: The Killing of Jason Corbett.

The official cause of death was blunt-force head trauma, but Jason also suffered multiple lacerations, abrasions, and contusion of the head. The post-mortem revealed a horrific catalogue of harm to him, including extensive skull fractures, haemorrhages and other injuries to his torso, hands, and legs.

In stark contrast, the video cameras in the corner of the neighbouring interrogation rooms in Davidson County clearly show no visible injuries on either Molly or her father.

Sitting across from two detectives, Tom Martens, cross-legged, arms folded, looks composed as he thanks officers for a strong, black coffee before explaining how he was an FBI agent for 31 years.

Less than two minutes into the interview, after establishing his law enforcement credentials, he suggests: “Perhaps it would be helpful if I just kinda launched into the story because it will contribute to my state of mind.”

 

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He goes on to calmly cast doubt on the events surrounding the tragic death of Mr Corbett’s first wife, Margaret, on November 21, 2006, when their children, Sarah and Jack, were just babies.

“He is an Irish citizen, he was married in Ireland, he had those two children, and his first wife died in mysterious circumstances. The finding was that she had an asthma attack in his car, she died of asphyxiation,” said Tom Martens.

Documents lodged with Davidson County Superior Court during the subsequent murder trial of Tom and Molly Martens included an affidavit from Dr TP Casey, a coroner for south-east Limerick, confirming he issued a certificate certifying Margaret Corbett’s death was due to “an acute respiratory arrest secondary to bronchospasm in a known asthmatic”.

Her father, Michael Fitzpatrick, who has since died, would later make a sworn statement in “clear and unequivocal terms” that his daughter died of natural causes. He stated that she “suffered from severe asthma all her life”.

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Molly Martens with her father Thomas Martens

Molly Martens with her father Thomas Martens

Molly Martens with her father Thomas Martens

 

His wife, Marian Fitzpatrick, would describe Jason as “gentle giant” with a “smile that would lie up the room” after Tom Martens and his daughter Molly were charged with second-degree murder in 2006.

Back in the interrogation room in August 2015, Tom Martens explained how his daughter became Jason Corbett’s second wife, continuing: “Molly saw an advertisement for a, what you call it, a babysitter, and it might sound too sugary, a nanny, and so she answered that ad to work for Jason in Ireland and they subsequently got involved in a romantic relationship and he got transferred here to Winston Salem to a packaging plant.”

Mr Martens explains that he had arrived at around 8.30pm the evening before to his daughter’s house in North Carolina from his own home in Knoxville, Tennessee, about a four-hour drive away.

Tom Martens then begins to talk about his son-in-law’s drinking the night before: “He sat in the driveway and drank all afternoon. So, when we got there, he was clearly under the influence but he was polite and ... we ordered pizza and when did we get there, 8.30, and all of a sudden it’s bedtime.”

But the toxicology report from the post-mortem showed just 20 mg/dL of alcohol in Jason’s  blood, which is a very low level of alcohol. The current drink driving limit in Ireland is 50 mg/dL.

Further into his interview, the FBI agent describes the marriage between Jason Corbett and his daughter.

He accuses his son-in-law of being abusive, but is vague on details of the alleged abuse: “I would say their marriage has not been a good one… That’s a Dad’s feeling…. He was abusive, usually to my knowledge not physically abusive, but he’d grab her or whatever and I don’t think she told us everything, but he was very controlling and abusive.”

Tom then explains he was staying with his daughter and family when he was woken by “arguing and thumping” in the couple’s bedroom almost directly above his basement bedroom. He says he grabbed a bat he had brought to give to 10-year-old Jack Corbett and ran upstairs.

“I opened the bedroom and he’s got Molly by the throat like this,” he says holding his hands out in description.

He claims he kept repeating “let her go” and his son-in-law would repeatedly reply, “I’m going to kill her”.

Still remaining calm he continues: “He looks like he knows what he’s doing… you know how you can cut off the blood here”, he says pointing to the throat, “I’m scared to death and he is starting to drag her toward the bathroom.

“And I hit him, I hit him with the baseball bat, I was scared to death that he was going to kill her,” he said, looking directly at officers.

In what he describes as a fight, he claims his son-in-law took the bat off him before he retrieved it again: “I can’t tell you how many times I hit him, I can’t tell you how many times he shoved me. I can’t tell you because it was battle. And then he goes down and we call 911,” he tells detectives steadily.

Then, he conversationally explains how “you hear horror stories about 911 but the lady was great” and claimed: “We were pounding away on his chest doing what we can…”

In the recording of the 911 call made by Tom Martens at 3.02am, the pair don’t start CPR until they are instructed to do so by the operator. When she tells Tom Martens to “make sure his mouth and nose are clear.”

He replies: “It’s a mess.” As she explains the procedure for chest compressions, he says: “I’m somewhat familiar with this”.

Later in the call, Molly tells the operator: “I’m certified, I just can’t think.”

A few hours later in the police interview, when Tom Martens is asked if he knows  anything about a cement landscaping block on the bedroom floor, he said: ‘No.’

  • The Murder Files: The Killing of Jason Corbett will be shown tonight at 9pm.

'Ruling on kids correct'

The American court clerk who placed Jason Corbett’s children in the care of his sister has no regrets about his decision six years on from the ruling.

Two days after the killing of Jason Corbett, Molly Martens issued proceedings to be appointed the guardian of Sarah, who was eight at the time, and Jack Corbett, who was ten.

Both their natural parents were now dead, their mother, Margaret, had died on November 21, 2006, from an asthma attack while their father had died on August 2, 2015, from blunt force trauma to the head.

Their stepmother’s custody bid was countered by an application for guardianship by their paternal aunt, Tracey Corbett Lynch and her husband, David Lynch.

On August 14 nearly two weeks after the death of their Limerick father, Brian Shipwash, the Clerk of the Superior

Court for Davidson County, held a hearing on the case.

A few days later he made an order to appoint the Lynches as their guardians. He stated that it was in the best interests of the minor children.

In the new Virgin Media documentary, The Murder Files: The killing of Jason Corbet, the American judge has no regrets over his decision.

“There were some disparaging remarks regarding Molly, and the relationship”, said Brian Shipwash, former Davidson County Superior Court Clerk in the documentary.

“And there was disparaging remarks brought up by Molly towards Jason.”

Jason Corbett’s will, which was signed in 2007, was read out in the court custody hearing.

It stated: “I appoint the said David Lynch and his wife Tracey Lynch (my sister) to be Guardians of my infant children.”

In the documentary, Mr Shipwash, reveals the influence of the will on the custody hearing.

“In the will, Jason expressed that he wished for a guardian to be his sister and her husband. And so, in North Carolina, the law states that we should give that great weight, we don’t have to follow it, but we should give that great weight and, in this situation, not only was it his wishes, but it was what I felt was in the children’s best interest.”

He revealed how he called the attorneys together to announce his decision in his chambers.

“I ordered the attorneys, not to disclose this decision until the children were in the custody of the Davidson County Department of Social Services and Davidson County Department of Social Services was ordered to go to get the children, and to deliver them to the Lynch family.

“At the time that I made my decision, the children, with DSS in the room, were allowed to talk to Molly at some point in time.

“There is no doubt in my mind then and five, six years later, there’s still no doubt that I made the correct decision.”

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