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Investigation Revealed: Molly Martens' tearful interview with police following Jason Corbett killing

Nicola Tallant talks to Lynne Kelleher about Molly Martens’ case

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Molly Martens

Molly Martens

Molly Martens

It’s 6.45am when Molly Martens walks into the police interview followed by a female detective.

Sitting with her arms wrapped protectively around her body, she lists her name as “Molly Martens Corbett” and her occupation a “swim coach”.

***

He suffered a brutal death at the hands of his wife and her former FBI  agent dad, but the path to justice for Jason Corbett’s family has been far from clear.

Found guilty by a North Carolina court of second degree murder, Molly and Tom Martens were originally sent to jail but had their convictions overturned by an Appeals Court before the Supreme Court subsequently agreed that the trial had been unfair.

Now, the pair will be tried again and the events around Jason’s death will be played out once more in a courtroom.

But what actually happened on the night he died and just what did the father and daughter admit in the hours after the Irishman’s death?

Investigative journalist Lynne Kelleher’s murder files on the Jason Corbett case have been turned into a documentary to be shown on Virgin Media One tomorrow night.

Today,  we pore over the 911 call that alerted authorities to his death, dissect the police interviews with Tom and Molly and examine the toxicology results, autopsy findings and bloody crime scene reports.

***

Asking questions in a kindly tone, the policewoman in the sheriff’s office in Davidson County, North Carolina, jots the details. Molly and Jason have lived at 160 Panther Creek in Davidson County for four years. Asked who was at the house that night she says “my children”, Jack, who was ten at the time, and Sarah, who was eight, and her parents Sharon and Tom Martens, who were visiting from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Huddled in a jacket and a blanket, Molly gives the impression of a childlike figure in the recording of a police interview just less than four hours after her father, Tom, made a chillingly-calm 911 call to report the catastrophic injuries to his son-in-law, Jason Corbett, to the authorities.

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Jason and Molly with the kids.

Jason and Molly with the kids.

Jason and Molly with the kids.

 

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The recording features in a new Virgin Media documentary, The Murder Files: The Killing of Jason Corbett, which examines the police interviews of the Martens along with crime scene footage which gives a distressing insight into the brutality of the events which led to Jason Corbett’s death.

The police interviews reveal claims made by Molly and her father, Tom, still wearing the clothes they had worn while beating the Limerick native to death with a baseball bat and a paving brick.

In stark contrast to her father, Molly Martens is tearful and hesitant but polite, referring to the detective as Ma’am, southern-style, throughout the interrogation in the white-bricked room which is a carbon copy of her father’s interrogation room down the corridor. She covers her face in her hands when initially asked about the events.

“We were fighting,” she says, pulling at her neck. When asked who was fighting, she answered: “My husband.”

When asked if there was a history of domestic violence in the house, she whispers “yes”.

Asked if she ever called the police, she shakes her head.

Molly is vague when pressed for further details on reporting any alleged injuries from domestic abuse to a hospital or a doctor. “I went to the hospital a couple of times but didn’t tell what happened,” she tells the detective.

Officers assigned to the case did not find evidence of medical records of alleged domestic abuse in the ensuing investigation.

Later in the interview, when talking about whether her parents were aware of alleged abuse, she said: “I never told them about any physical abuse, but I’ve told them about verbal abuse and mental and emotional.”

She went on to describe an argument with her husband that night, claiming: “He choked me cause he wanted me to shut up and I screamed.”

Throughout the first minutes of the interview, she repeatedly rubs her neck leading the detective to ask: “Why do you keep grabbing your neck?”

When asked at another stage if her husband had attacked her in any other way she replied: “He might have elbowed me in the face.”

At around 7am, they are interrupted by a police photographer. The detective gently explains they need to get pictures to see if they can find any injuries.

As Molly is asked about any injuries she may have sustained, she tearfully repeats, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know’.

In the recording, she is examined in her blue pyjamas after removing her black jacket. Standing with her arms outstretched and her face facing upwards, the camera clicks repeatedly.

As Molly turns over her hands, she is wearing a delicate bracelet which is still completely intact. There are no visible cuts, scratches or bruising. Before the photographer leaves, the officer checks again with her to see if she is hurting anywhere on her legs or her back. “I don’t think so, I don’t know,” Molly replies.

She then is asked to continue to explain the harrowing events of the previous hours. Sitting in the brown wooden chair across the table from the detective, she goes on to explain what happened when her dad came into the room.

“He had a baseball bat and he, he hit Jason or tried to hit him and Jason got the baseball bat and he tried to hit my dad, I think… he might have missed and I.. I hit him on the head,” she said.

The detective replied: “You hit him on the head with what?”

Molly Martens answers: “With the brick on the nightstand.”

“You have a brick on your nightstand?” asked the officer, “what was that for?”

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Jason and Molly married in 2011.

Jason and Molly married in 2011.

Jason and Molly married in 2011.

 

She claimed she was going to paint the bricks with the kids, and she hadn’t had time to decorate it.

When asked how many times she hit Jason, she answers tearfully, clasping her hands together: “I don’t know.”

In her statement, she paints a picture of a heavy-drinking Irish husband saying he liked “all kinds, mostly expensive, beer”.

When asked if she thought her husband, Jason, was drunk that night, she said: “Yes, he was drunk.”

She claimed drinking was “not uncommon” adding the “big drinking” was worse when they lived in Ireland because of the “culture” and says he would go on “binge drinking sessions.”

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Molly is led from court.

Molly is led from court.

Molly is led from court.

 

“The difference here is that he drinks more at home because it’s part of the culture,” before quickly adding, “I don’t mean it’s part of the culture, I don’t mean Americans drink a lot at home. I just mean in Ireland it’s just you go to the pub…”

When asked if she had been arguing with her husband before they went to bed, she replied: “He was mostly happy and drunk but he was a little bit irritated with me because my parents had talked about coming but he didn’t want them to come tonight.”

The toxicology report carried out at the office of the Chief Medical Examiner showed there was 20mg/dL of alcohol detected in the blood of Jason Corbett in his post-mortem. This is less than half the 50mg/dL legal drink driving limit in Ireland for experienced drivers.

Molly says in the interview that she had been in a relationship with the Limerick man for seven years, before adding the children were not biologically her children. They had been married for four years.

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Jason and Molly together at a charity ball in 2009.

Jason and Molly together at a charity ball in 2009.

Jason and Molly together at a charity ball in 2009.

 

When asked where her mother, Sharon Martens, was while the fight with Jason and her father was happening, Molly replies: “I… in the room”.

The officer also examines her abdomen for any bruising after Molly spoke of stomach pain but says: “I don’t see any bruising...”

At the end of the interview, Molly asks if she can go home and if her parents and the kids are there.

Molly is asked if she knows her husband didn’t survive his injuries. “I, I didn’t think so,” she answers.

When the detective broaches the subject of breaking the news of Jason Corbett’s death to his relatives in Ireland, who are still unaware he has been brutally killed, she begins to sob saying: “Oh God... what will they be told?”

She says she is “scared they’ll try to take the kids.” When she explains she hasn’t adopted the children the detective says: “Then that’s a real possibility,” before adding, “I anticipate there is a distinct possibility that either his family or [their mother’s] family will probably try to fight for custody of the children.”

“But I’ve raised them,” Molly sobs.

At the end of the interview, the female detective tells Molly Martens: “At this point after talking to your dad and talking to you, I think this is going to be self-defence. I don’t think there is going to be any issue with that.”

Five months later, Molly Martens and Tom Martens were ordered to appear before a Lexington Court where they were formally charged with second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.

The trial opened on July 25, 2017, and on August 9, they were sentenced to between 20 and 25 years in prison.

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