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Mortensen killer sentenced to life without parole

By Caleb Warnock - Daily Herald - | Mar 6, 2013

AMERICAN FORK — The man who killed a BYU professor for his gun collection likely will die in prison.

Martin Bond was sentenced to life without parole at noon on Tuesday by 4th District Court Judge Thomas Low. The sentence had been negotiated before the trail, but Bond surprised the prosecution by asking the judge to reduce the sentence to 25 years to life with the possibility of parole. Low refused. Attorneys for the defendant said they would appeal part of the sentence.

In pronouncing Bond’s fate, Low referred to the 1940 classic novel by Ernest Hemingway, “For Whom The Bell Tolls.”

“When the bell tolled for Kay Mortensen, it also tolled for many of his family and friends. Unfortunately, it also tolled for you,” the judge said to Bond. “The life you took was a good one. Kay Mortensen spent his life making this world a better place. Many others have suffered as well. You are still young. If there is any honor left in you, you will spend the rest of your life in prison trying to become better.”

Bond kept his back turned to the Mortensen family as the sentence was pronounced, and immediately left the courtroom without even glancing at the room. He did not make a sound.

On Jan. 19, a jury found Bond guilty of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary and three counts of aggravated kidnapping — all first-degree felonies — for the events of Nov. 16, 2009, when Kay Mortensen’s throat was slit, his Payson Canyon home burglarized, and his son and daughter-in-law tied up and held hostage. Bond’s co-defendant Benjamin Rettig pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and aggravated kidnapping in December 2011 as part of a plea deal, in exchange for his testimony against Bond. Rettig refused to testify during the trial and invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination, saying he was concerned about federal charges.

For the count of aggravated murder, Low sentenced Bond to life without parole, to run concurrently with another sentence of life without parole and two counts of five years to life. Low separated out two counts of aggravated kidnapping, sentencing Bond to 15 years to life for each of those counts, and ordering those sentences to be consecutive, not concurrent. Low called the move appropriate but “academic” because Bond will die in prison anyway.

Bond was escorted into court in shackles, wearing faded red and white prison stripes and bright orange plastic sandals. He smiled several times as he whispered to his attorneys, and did not display a troubled countenance at any time during the sentencing. He addressed the family before the sentence was announced.

“First, to the family I would like to say I’m sorry,” Bond said, turning to the family stoically. “I did like Kay. He was a friend. I’m sure you are familiar with some of the inconsistencies in this case. If I was really the monster everyone thinks I am, Roger and Pam would not be sitting here. I was in a bad situation.”

At times while he spoke, he seemed to ramble, saying that while he had Roger and Pamela tied up, “I was trying to tell you what was going on. I read in the report that you remembered some of the things I was saying.” His voice remained even and steady as he spoke, looking at Kay Mortensen’s wife, Darla Mortensen.

Roger Mortensen condemned Bond and asked the court to put him away forever.

“My father worked hard his whole life,” he said. “He was in good health. You robbed him of his retirement years that he deserved. At the trial, you described Kay Mortensen as a close friend and yet you chose to steal from him and murder him. This shows your true character. This should prove to the court and the world that you should never see freedom again. Pam and I know you were the leader and orchestrated the entire ordeal. You gave the orders. Either you or Rettig could have stopped the events at any time, and you chose not to. Because of your actions, my wife and I were blamed for a crime we did not commit. We spent four and a half months in jail. Our relationships with family and friends were destroyed, my wife lost her job, our vehicles were repossessed, our reputations were ruined in our church and in our community while you watched it happen and bragged about it. I feel you should be sentenced to life without parole, where you have plenty of time to think of what you did and how your actions deprived my father of the best years of his life, ruined your life and left your innocent son effectively fatherless.”

Darla Mortensen told the court she had been “left alone” by the murder, and the lives of Roger and Pamela “shattered … all for a few guns.” Bond “had murder in his eyes that night. He’s never shown any remorse or regret.” Her husband “was not ready to die, so Martin Bond must pay the price for what he did.”

Low said he would give Bond the last word before sentencing. Bond took the chance to ask for a reduced sentence of 25 years to life, which he did not get.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been in trouble,” Bond said, asking for “a second chance.”

Speaking to the media afterward, Darla Mortensen said the statements were the first time she’d heard Bond’s voice.

“It’s over for him,” she said. “That’s how it needs to be.”

Pamela Mortensen said she and her husband are still dealing with the consequences of being falsely accused.

“We are grateful to those few family and friends who stuck by us,” she said. “We are doing our best to carry on. We will miss Kay.”

Then she wept.

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