Irish Daily Mail
Molly in line for $200k from house sale
JASON Corbett’s wife – who is serving a jail sentence for his murder – is due to receive half the cash from the sale of the house where she and her father killed him.
The five-bedroom property in North Carolina, where the Limerick man lived with Molly Martens, 34, and his two children from a previous marriage, is on the market for just under €400,000.
The house, which has been on sale for over two months, had accumulated just 300 views on one property website by the end of last week, the Irish Mail on Sunday revealed yesterday.
Mays Gibson Real Estate is advertising the house as a place to ‘vacation at home… with pool and tennis’. It remains one of the area’s most expensive houses – priced $396,800 (€325,000) – and despite its history, it has seen no devaluation.
Sources told the MoS any proceeds from the sale will be divided between the Martens family in the US and the Corbett family in Limerick, in accordance with the estate of Jason Corbett.
The house at 160 Panther Creek Court in Davidson County, is advertised as a family home in a picturesque gated community. The property was built in 2006 and bought by the Irishman for $344,900 in 2011 as a home for him, Martens and his two children from his first marriage. Mr Corbett, 39, described as a ‘gentle giant’, was beaten to death with a paving brick and an aluminium baseball bat in the bedroom he shared with Martens, his second wife.
She and father Thomas, a retired FBI agent, were convicted of second-degree murder, and both got 20-25 years in jail. They claimed self-defence and defence of one another. However, the prosecution pointed to a $600,000 life insurance policy and efforts by Martens to gain custody of Mr Corbett’s children as motives for the killing.
TWO-AND-A-HALF years after their adored brother and father Jason was bludgeoned to death by his second wife Molly Martens and his father-in-law Thomas and the pain continues for the Corbett family.
Like all families who have lost loved ones in violent circumstances, their grief is compounded by anger and shock, and in their case the vicious sting of betrayal by a family member who they had embraced as one of their own.
After burying Jason in his native Co. Limerick and fighting a bitter court battle for custody of his two young children the family had to brave the ordeal of a murder trial in the full glare of the international media.
Their sister-in-law Martens, 34, and her former FBI agent father Thomas, 67, protested their innocence vehemently and while the guilty verdicts brought some consolation to the Corbetts and upheld their faith in the justice system, the harrowing trial which saw the Martens attempt to cast suspicions on Jason’s character by claiming they acted in selfdefence must have tested them severely.
The fact that it took place thousands of miles from home, away from their network of family and friends must have added to their sense of powerlessness.
But, now just while there’s the chance of closure, of that most devastating time in their lives fading into memory, the Corbetts’ torment has been revived by the prospect of Martens profiting from the sale of the family home in North Carolina.
The house, a handsome five-bedroom property in a picturesque gated community and one of the most expensive in the area, has been on the market for more than two months.
And although it has yet to attract a buyer, Molly who is now incarcerated in the Southern Correctional Institution in North Carolina can pocket half the sale price of almost $400,000, or €325,000, in accordance with the terms of her late husband’s estate.
But morally her claim on the family estate is questionable, to say the least.
Why should she benefit from the sale of the family home and shortchange Jason’s children and his heirs?
Has their self-proclaimed besotted and rightful mother not weaved enough destruction through their short lives?
The murder trial heard that Molly kept a cement brick on her bedside table while her father was armed with an aluminium baseball bat when they set upon the defenceless Jason, 39, as he lay sleeping in bed. The walls of the couple’s bedroom were splattered with blood and Jason was beaten so badly that pathologists could not determine exactly how many blows he had suffered.
The pair were convicted of seconddegree murder with Molly’s release date set for August 2037.
In this country we are also familiar with spouses convicted of the murder or manslaughter of their other halves boldly asserting their claim on the family loot.
While the Succession Act of 1965 bars anyone found guilty of murder, attempted murder or manslaughter from inheriting their victim’s estate, the clarity and effectiveness of the law has been called into question over the course of several cases, particularly those concerning Eamon Lillis and Catherine Nevin.
Lillis became a very wealthy man in his own right after he beat his wife Celine Cawley to death with a brick in 2008.
After his daughter Georgia brought a case against him to gain control of her mother’s estate, the courts found that he was still entitled to 50% of the Howth home that he’d co-owned with his victim. Even more gallingly, Lillis also claimed his share of Ms Cawley’s film production company and her pension.
When he staked his claim on the couple’s lavish €800,000 villa in Biarritz his daughter took him to court in France.
The courts in that country decided to overlook the contract signed by the couple when they bought the house stating that upon the death of one of them, it would wholly transfer to the other.
Instead the French judges ruled that Georgia should have the house.
Catherine Nevin’s bid to gain ownership of her late husband Tom’s considerable assets is the subject of a long-running legal saga.
Mr Nevin’s brother Patrick and sister Margaret Lavelle are trying to prevent her inheriting his estate and last year the way was cleared for a full hearing of their High Court action in the matter. The Court of Appeal ruled that Nevin’s conviction for murdering her husband can be used to stop her inheriting from him.
In a counter-claim Nevin, who denies she is guilty of her husband’s murder, claims she is entitled to his assets, or part of them , by virtue of survivorship and the laws of intestacy.
Tom died in 1996 but he did not leave a will. Beside his landmark pub, Jack White’s Inn, near Brittas Bay in Wicklow, which he jointly owned with Catherine, he had two Dublin properties, an insurance policy for £78,000 (€99,000) and £197,000 (€250,000) in cash.
Martens’ entitlement to a half share in the family home in North Carolina shows that we are not the only country where men or women who kill their spouses can go on to inherit their property.
Jason Corbett bought the house in North Carolina in 2011, four years before his gruesome death.
Molly, who originally worked for him as a nanny and later as a part-time model, may not have made a significant financial contribution to the purchase.
However, as his wife, that would have no bearing on her claim to half the property.
Materially she enjoyed the best of everything during her marriage.
Jason wanted her to have the good life but surely she lost the right to her privileged and pampered existence the moment she raised her hand to strike him dead?
If anyone is due money from the family estate it’s the orphaned children.
The pair are being lovingly raised by their aunt and uncle David and Tracey Lynch in Limerick.
Aged 13 and 11, they are still young and while a financial nest egg will never replace the father they lost or indeed their late mother Margaret, who died of an asthma attack when they were only tots, it could help give them the experiences and opportunities their hardworking family-man father dreamed for them.
They could travel the world on a gap year or have an early start on the property ladder, or go to university abroad… there are any number of ways Jason’s offspring could benefit from what is essentially a posthumous gift from their parents.
Alternatively, the profits from the house sale could help defray the eyewatering legal fees the Corbett family ran up in the aftermath of the heinous murder.
Anything would be better than handing the spoils from the family home sale to the very woman who turned it into a murder scene, killed their father and robbed them of their childhood.