LEXINGTON — In responses filed this week in a wrongful-death lawsuit, Thomas Martens and Molly Corbett said Martens struck Irish businessman Jason Corbett to death with a baseball bat because Jason threatened to kill him and Molly.
"Jason Corbett's death was the sole proximate result of his own unprovoked violent aggression and his deliberate attempt to kill Molly Corbett and kill or seriously injure Mr. Martens," Kent L. Hamrick and Ann C. Rowe, attorneys for Martens, said in court papers filed Monday. Dudley Witt, attorney for Molly Corbett, filed similar court documents in response to the wrongful-death lawsuit on Tuesday.
Molly Corbett, 33, and her father, Thomas Martens, 67, a former FBI agent, were convicted of second-degree murder on Aug. 9 after a trial in Davidson Superior Court. Judge David Lee sentenced each to 20 years to 25 years in prison. Jason Corbett, 39, was found bludgeoned to death in the early morning hours of Aug. 2, 2015, at 160 Panther Creek Court in the Meadowlands, a golf-course community in Davidson County. He lived there with Molly Corbett, his second wife whom he met when he hired her in 2008 as an au pair for his two children from his first marriage.
In July, David Lynch, the executor of Jason Corbett's estate, filed the wrongful-death lawsuit in Davidson Superior Court. In addition to Thomas Martens and Molly Corbett, Lynch also named Sharon Martens, Thomas Martens' wife and Molly Corbett's mother, as a defendant.
David Lynch is the husband of Tracey Lynch, Jason Corbett's sister, and they now have guardianship of Jason Corbett's two children, Jack and Sarah. They live in Ireland.
The lawsuit alleges that Molly Corbett and Thomas Martens "intentionally, willfully and maliciously assaulted" Jason Corbett, using a baseball bat and a concrete paving brick. The lawsuit also alleges that Sharon Martens "assisted, aided and abetted Defendants Molly Page Corbett and Thomas Martens in the killing of Jason Corbett and in the concealment and destruction of evidence related to Jason Corbett's death." Sharon Martens was not criminally charged in Jason Corbett's death.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendant's actions caused Jason Corbett "extreme pain and discomfort and death."
Attorneys for Sharon and Thomas Martens said in court papers that Thomas Martens heard loud noises coming from his daughter's bedroom on Aug. 2, 2015, and he grabbed a baseball bat. When he walked into the bedroom, he saw Jason Corbett choking his daughter. Jason Corbett told Martens that he was going to kill Molly, Hamrick and Rowe said.
"In order to save his daughter from imminent bodily injury or death Mr. Martens struck Jason Corbett with the baseball bat," they write in court papers. "Jason Corbett then wrestled the bat away from Mr. Martens and came after him with the bat without releasing Molly Corbett."
Then, according to the response, Martens struck Jason Corbett with the bat until he went down.
Martens testified during the trial that he had swung the bat while in the bedroom and that Jason Corbett caught the bat with his left hand. Molly escaped at that moment and then Jason pushed Martens across the room with his left hand, Martens testified.
In her response, Molly Corbett doesn't talk about her alleged role in Jason Corbett's death. Prosecutors say that she hit Jason Corbett with a concrete paving brick. She denies the allegations in the lawsuit and claims that Jason Corbett died as a result of his alleged aggression and attempt to kill her and her father.
They have both asked for a change of venue to either Davie County or Forsyth County and they have asked for a stay in the civil proceedings because they are appealing their convictions.