Martin Cameron Bond knew his sentence before he walked into American Fork’s 4th District courthouse on Tuesday: life without the possibility of parole.
He had agreed to the sentence to escape the death penalty in the event a jury found him guilty of aggravated murder in the 2009 death of retired Brigham Young University professor Kay Mortensen. That jury verdict came on Jan. 18.
But the stipulation didn’t stop the 25-year-old from asking 4th District Judge Thomas Low to sentence him to 25 years to life, which offered the possibility of parole.
"I don’t use drugs, I don’t drink," said the shackled killer, dressed in a red jumpsuit. "I don’t use tobacco products... I always thought Corrections was for rehabilitation."
Bond asked the judge to allow the parole board to determine whether he was "worthy of a second chance." But Low said his hands were tied and sentenced Bond to spend the rest of his life in the Utah State Prison.
"Fair enough, your honor," Bond said before being led back into a holding cell. "Thank you."
The sentence was exactly what Mortensen’s family hoped for. Mortensen’s son, Roger Mortensen, addressed Bond during Tuesday’s sentencing, telling his father’s murderer that he hoped he never would experience freedom again.
"My father worked hard his whole life," he told Bond. "He was in good health. You stole that from him."
Prosecutors have said Bond and an accomplice, Benjamin David Rettig, killed Mortensen to get the cache of guns he kept in his Payson home. The professor was found kneeling over his bathtub, his throat cut, a stab wound in his neck.
The case initially took a wrong turn when charges were filed against Roger Mortensen and his wife, Pamela Mortensen, who stumbled upon the burglars when they came to the house to bring Mortensen a pecan pie.
The couple were tied up but eventually freed themselves and called for help when they found Mortensen’s body. Police initially didn’t believe their story, however, and the couple were held in jail for five months and indicted by a grand jury before Bond’s ex-wife tipped police.
Rettig — who is serving 25 years to life in prison — pleaded guilty in 2011 to aggravated murder and aggravated kidnapping for his part in the slaying. Bond was found guilty of aggravated murder, three counts of aggravated kidnapping, and one count each of aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery.
Bond apologized Tuesday to Mortensen’s family, calling the murder "a horrible tragedy that shouldn’t have occurred."
"I really did like Kay," he said to the family in court. "He was a friend. I grew up liking Kay… But if I was really the monster that everyone thinks I am, Roger and Pam wouldn’t be sitting here today."
Mortensen was a friend of Bond’s father, and the 25-year-old had known the professor since he was a teenager.
Kay Mortensen’s wife, Darla Mortensen, said outside of court that Tuesday was the first time she had heard Bond’s voice — a voice, she said, that didn’t convey any sincerity.
"I’m just grateful that this has ended," she said.
Emotions remain volatile among some of Pamela and Roger Mortensen’s friends and family, who are still upset over the couple’s arrest and say the grand jury system needs to be revamped. Donna Rissinger, Pamela Mortensen’s mother, told reporters Tuesday that the couple has never received restitution for the wrongful arrests, although they had to pay for attorneys and their cars were repossessed.
Deputy Utah County Attorney Tim Taylor said Tuesday the decision to arrest the couple was based on evidence they had at the time.
"When you go back three years ago, we thought we were making the right decision," Taylor said.
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