ABC News(NEW YORK) — Three of the jurors who found former FBI agent Thomas Martens and his daughter, Molly Corbett, guilty of murdering her husband Wednesday told ABC News’ 20/20 that they believe the father-daughter pair’s self-defense story was a cover-up.
“The evidence, to me, did not suggest that the story that was fabricated ever occurred,” juror Miriam Figueroa said. “There was no doubt in my mind that I made, and my fellow jurors made, the right choice.”
Martens and Corbett were found guilty of second-degree murder. Both received the same sentence of a minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum of 25 years. They said they plan to appeal.
Prosecutors claimed Martens, a 31-year veteran of the FBI, and his daughter, Molly Corbett, had brutally murdered Corbett’s 39-year-old husband, Jason Corbett. Experts testified that the physical evidence — in particular, the blood-spatter patterns — proved Corbett suffered fatal blows to the head after he was already down.
Martens and Molly Corbett claimed Jason Corbett was choking her on the night of Aug. 2, 2015, when Martens intervened and hit him with a baseball bat. Martens testified that Molly told him she also struck Jason with a paving stone that was on her nightstand, though Martens claims he didn’t see it happen. They both said they were convinced that Jason was trying to kill her and they were defending themselves and each other against him.
The medical examiner’s report said Jason Corbett was hit at least 10 times, and the cause of death was ruled blunt force trauma.
“To me, the choking did not occur,” Figueroa said. Jury foreman Tom Aamland and another juror — Nancy Perez — agreed.
“Once you hit a certain point and you do not stop, manslaughter or self-defense goes off the table,” Figueroa said. “Once that point was matched where you could have stopped then and there, once the person was no longer an aggressor — if that were the case, and you continue, it’s no longer self-defense.”
Another major factor in their verdict decision, they said, was the gruesome crime-scene photos. Perez said the first image of Jason Corbett’s body she saw was so graphic that she vomited in the North Carolina courtroom.
The three jurors said they believe Molly Corbett and her father took some time after Jason died to conspire before they called 911, and they said the prosecution’s argument that investigators said Martens and Molly Corbett didn’t appear to have any injuries was telling. Figueroa said she even believes Molly Corbett struck her husband first with the paving stone while he was sleeping.
“I think at some point Dad came to help out and cover it up,” Figueroa said. “There was blood on the pillow and on the comforter. That may have been the first blow, and then it progressed from that point where he got out of bed and she might have struck him more than one time in bed.”
“And when he got up and tried to protect himself,” Aamland added, “I believe that’s when Tom had to intervene because of the size difference of Molly and Jason.”
Molly Corbett did not take the stand at trial, but the jurors watched her closely throughout the trial and developed theories about her mental health.
“I believe she can control her personalities, whether it’s bipolar or whatever,” Aamland said.
Molly Corbett told 20/20 in her pre-trial interview that she had once been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but this information was never revealed at trial.
Figueroa and Perez also said they stared at Molly and made notes about what triggered Molly’s emotions — and what didn’t.
“Yes. Every time that they would talk about the kids, I was like, ‘Molly’s crying.’ They’d show the pictures of her husband and his skull. ‘Molly doesn’t seem to be affected,’ said Perez.
Perez went further in her observations of Molly’s character. “I think Molly is a person that has not been ever held accountable for any actions whatsoever. I think Molly was Daddy’s princess, just like every girl is in Daddy’s eyes. I feel like Molly was very manipulative.”
Though it didn’t come up at trial, Molly claimed in her interview with 20/20 that Jason had been an abusive husband for years, though the jurors argued that the defense didn’t present proof of that.
“The defense did not once suggest any of that,” Figueroa said. “So we as jurors, or me as a juror, cannot take that into consideration because it was never presented as a possibility.”
“We had to go by what we heard,” Aamland said.
In an interview with 20/20 after the verdict, defense attorney Walter Holton insisted that Molly was a victim of abuse the night of the incident and for years before it. When asked why they didn’t put Molly on the stand, Holton said, “Why? What burden of proof do we have?”
“That’s not the way the system works. It’s not up to us to prove innocence,” he said.
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