AMERICAN FORK (ABC 4 News) - It happened three years ago, but for the daughter-in-law of a murdered Brigham Young University professor it seems like only yesterday that she walked in on the terrifying scene.
During her testimony on Wednesday, Pamela Mortensen described her experience of Nov. 16, 2009 -- the night her father, Kay Mortensen, was killed in his Payson Canyon home. From the witness stand, Mortensen told jurors that she and her husband arrived at Kay Mortensen's home to deliver a pie for Thanksgiving. She knew something was terribly wrong when, instead of her father-in-law, 25-year-old Martin Cameron Bond answered the door.
Bond and an accomplice, Benjamin David Rettig, 25, then allegedly forced the couple inside at gunpoint and restrained them with zip ties. Police believe that by that point, the former engineering professor was already dead -- his throat cut and stabbed in the back of the neck, slumped over a bathtub in the bathroom. In subsequent interviews with police, each of the suspects has accused the other of committing the actual murder.
During testimony Wednesday, Pamela Mortensen recalled being afraid that she wouldn't make it out of the house alive that night.
Bond and Rettig allegedly took the couple's cell phones and IDs, and promised not to kill them if they would tell police the robbery was committed by three African-American men. Authorities say the men left the home with more than 30 of Kay Mortensen's firearms from his collection.
Police initially arrested and jailed Pamela and Roger Mortensen, the ex-professor's son, believing that they were responsible for the murder. Inconsistencies in the couple's stories were a primary factor in their suspicion, officials said. The couple languished in jail for five months before investigators realized they had tabbed the wrong suspects. A tip from Bond's ex-wife, Rachel Bingham, led police to both men -- who were living in Vernal at the time.
Bingham told police that Bond asked for her help in disposing of the stolen firearms, and even admitted his role in the murder. Investigators later uncovered several of the former professor's guns from a site where the suspects allegedly buried them.
Rettig struck a deal with prosecutors in 2011 to testify against Bond. In pleading guilty to reduced charges, he avoided the death penalty. If convicted, Bond faces a life sentence in prison without possibility of parole.