North Carolina woman and her dad get additional jail time in the beating death of her Irish husband
LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judge sentenced the wife of an Irish businessman and her father to additional prison time Wednesday after their pleas to voluntary manslaughter in her husband’s 2015 beating death.
Davidson Superior Court Judge David Hall sentenced Molly Corbett and Thomas Martens to spend between 51 and 74 months in prison, news outlets reported.
Corbett had pleaded no contest and her father pleaded guilty last week, two years after the North Carolina Supreme Court reversed their 2017 second-degree murder convictions and ordered a new trial. Each will serve only seven months behind bars, thanks to good behavior sentencing reduction earned during the 44 months they’ve already served, their attorneys said. Each had previously been sentenced to serve from 20 to 25 years.
Corbett’s husband, Jason Corbett, died at their home in a golf course community in Davidson County in 2015. Investigators said Molly Corbett and Martens, a former FBI agent, used an aluminum baseball bat and brick paver to kill Jason Corbett, fracturing his skull and causing injuries to his arm, legs and torso. Defense attorneys have said the two were acting in self-defense and that they feared for their lives during a struggle.
The couple met in 2008 when Molly Corbett worked as an au pair, caring for two children from Jason Corbett’s first marriage. His first wife had died of an asthma attack in 2006.
Hall said Wednesday that every criminal case “should be a search for the truth,” but he doesn’t know the truth in this case despite listening carefully to the evidence. The judge said he did not understand why Martens or his wife Sharon — who was also in the house — didn’t call 911. He also said he did not understand how Martens and Molly Corbett were left basically unscathed when Jason Corbett was so badly beaten.
Martens apologized for his actions and told Hall he had great respect for the law. He said he had to act when he saw Jason Corbett choking his daughter and about to drag her to a hallway.
“I had no choice,” Martens said. “I did the best that I could.”
Molly Corbett said she did her best as a wife and a mother to Jason Corbett’s children.
“I made a decision to protect my father from certain death,” she said.
Prosecutor Alan Martin focused on Molly Corbett in his closing argument, saying while Martens had accepted responsibility for his actions, his daughter had not. Attorneys for both Molly Corbett and Martens asked for lenient sentences with no more active time in prison.
Hall heard impact statements from Jason Corbett’s children. Sarah Corbett, now 17, said defense witnesses and attorneys twisted her words when she was 8 to help Molly Corbett and Martens get lenient prison sentences.
“I only got betrayed,” Sarah said. “I lied to help the Martens escape full justice for taking my father’s life.”
In his statement, Jack Corbett admitted that he lied to investigators about the case when he was 10.
“I have lost so much of myself since the day he (Jason Corbett) was taken,” Jack Corbett said. “My words were weaponized to help Molly and Thomas Martens get away with killing my dad.”
The pair urged Hall to give Molly Corbett and Thomas Martens the maximum sentence of 25 years.
“My dad’s life is worth more than a few years in prison,” Jack Corbett said.
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