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Wife, ex-FBI agent dad convicted in husband's beating death

Molly Corbett and her father, former FBI agent Thomas Martens, are seen in a combination of booking photos provided to CBS affiliate WFMY-TV of Greensboro, North Carolina.

LEXINGTON, N.C. -- The wife of an Irish businessman and her father were convicted Wednesday of second-degree murder in her husband's beating death.

CBS Greensboro affiliate WFMY-TV reports that a North Carolina jury found Molly Martens Corbett and her father, former FBI agent Thomas Martens, both guilty of second-degree murder. They were both sentenced to spend 20 to 25 years in prison.

Jason Corbett, 39, was found beaten to death in 2015 at their home in a golf course community in Davidson County.

Defense attorneys have said that the two were acting in self-defense and that they feared for their lives during a struggle with the husband.

The jury deliberated for less than five hours, WFMY-TV reports. Jury foreman Tom Aamland called the process painstaking.

"You saw tears," he said. "There were tears. I even had a few tears there while the verdicts were being ran through, and it wasn't an easy decision. Somebody's life changes."

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Martens Corbett, 33, said: "I'm sorry, Mom," as she was being led away in handcuffs during a recess.

The family of Jason Corbett broke into tears but appeared pleased with the verdict.

"It was a brutal merciless killing," Jason Corbett's sister Tracey Lynch, who traveled from Ireland for the trial, told reporters outside the courthouse. "My parents lost their child, and we lost the most wonderful brother and friend."

Jason Corbett, a native of Ireland, met Martens Corbett in 2008 when she worked as an au pair for two children from his first marriage. His first wife had died of an asthma attack in 2006.

Authorities described a bloody scene when Jason Corbett was found in the home's master bedroom on Aug 2, 2015. Martens Corbett's parents were at the house visiting.

Defense attorneys have said Thomas Martens, 67, heard screams in the early morning, went upstairs and intervened when he saw Jason Corbett with his hands around Martens Corbett's throat.

But prosecutors say Jason Corbett's skull was crushed when he was hit 12 times by a baseball bat and a brick paver. They say that Martens Corbett's possible motives included wanting to adopt the children and collect a $600,000 life insurance policy. Prosecutors say Thomas Martens disliked his son-in-law.

The two children are living in Ireland with Jason Corbett's relatives.