A former FBI agent and his daughter are speaking out about the night they killed the woman’s husband with a baseball bat, alleging that they acted in self-defense.
A North Carolina jury on Wednesday found Thomas Martens, 67, and 33-year-old Molly Corbett guilty of second-degree murder in Jason Corbett’s death in August 2015.
Officials argued that Molly’s desire to adopt Jason’s two children from a previous marriage was part of the motive for the killing, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
Authorities also suspect Jason’s $600,000 life insurance policy may have been a factor, and they alleged that Martens hated his son-in-law, the paper reports.
But in a pre-trial interview with ABC News‘ Linzie Janis, exclusively previewed above and airing in full Friday night, the father-daughter duo claim they killed the 39-year-old by bashing in his skull after he began choking Molly.
Asked about a police statement in a search warrant which notes that the scene of the altercation seemed inconsistent with their claims of a struggle, Martens is unswayed, according to the clip.
“He’s [the police officer is] entitled to his opinion, but what can I say? The struggled occurred,” he says. “I’ve described it as accurately as I can and that’s what happened.”
“He [Jason] has his hands around her neck and I said, ‘Let her go,’ ” Martens says of that night on Aug. 2, 2015. “And he said, ‘I’m gonna kill her.’ ”
Jason’s dead body was found naked on the floor of his bedroom, according to the Washington Post. A medical examiner said he was struck at least 12 times in the head, crushing his skull.
Although Molly has said the killing followed years of abuse, the jury unanimously found the duo murdered Jason out of malice, ABC News reports.
In her interview, when told that authorities believe she and her father hit Jason again once he was on the ground, Molly sticks by her story, saying in the exclusive clip, “No that didn’t happen.”
“The last hit, he was still standing up,” she continues, “and, hopefully, I’d like to think that there is science to prove that because the truth is the truth.”
Molly claims the altercation that night began when she went to check on Jason’s daughter, recalling to ABC News:
“I said, ‘She’s just 8. She had a nightmare. I should be allowed to go upstairs and comfort our daughter.’ And he forgot my parents were there.”
Molly alleges Jason attacked her, covering her mouth before choking her. “At some point, when he stopped, I screamed … And the next thing I remember is my dad standing in the doorway,” she says in her ABC sit-down.
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Martens says he isn’t sure what initially woke him that night — but that after hearing loud thumping, he ran upstairs with a baseball bat.
He says he entered the bedroom and approached Jason before hitting him in the back of the head with the bat. But, Martens claims, Jason was still able to drag Molly into the bathroom.
“I’m going to do everything that I have to do to save her life,” Martens tells ABC News. “And if I die trying, well … she’s my daughter. I’m not going to live with not trying. I’ll tell you that.”
Jason soon turned his attention to Martens and Molly feared her husband would kill her father, she claims.
A brick was found in the room, and Molly initially told police that she hit Jason in the head with it — but she declined to discuss that evidence with ABC.
Martens and Molly were sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison, ABC News reports. Still, the woman is standing by her story, saying in court that the incidents of abuse “occurred as they did on a somewhat regular basis, the difference is that my father was there.”
It was not immediately clear if Martens or Molly planned to appeal. Defense attorneys David Freedman and Walter Holton did not respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
In court, a statement from Jason’s 12-year-old son was read following the conviction, the Post reports.
“There is one more thing Molly Martens will not be part of, and that is part of the Corbett family,” he said. “My burden will not be lifted until she is put away.”
The full interview with be aired on ABC’s 20/20 on Friday at 10 p.m. ET.