Man accused of killing retired BYU professor ordered to stand trial

Published: Monday, Sept. 19 2011 11:00 a.m. MDT

Bingham told Adams that Bond had told her Mortensen did not struggle or fight before he was killed and that is was Rettig who slit his throat. But she also told investigators that Bond "was the more dangerous one," Brower said.

Adams testified that Bond gave a "very detailed" description of how Rettig allegedly killed Mortensen. When asked why Mortensen was killed, Bond told the officer, "He wasn't sure. (Rettig) felt like he just had to die."

But Rettig reportedly was ready to testify as part of his plea deal that it was Bond who committed the killing. Because of his desire to withdraw his plea, prosecutors did not call him to the witness stand Monday. They did, however, submit a previously written statement from Rettig describing the crime.

Outside the courtroom, Darla Mortensen said she believed both defendants are equally culpable. "No matter which one did the actual killing, they both need to be penalized," she said. "It was senseless. It destroyed lots of lives."

Utah County deputy district attorney Tim Taylor, however, said he is "very confident" that Bond committed the murder.

"We definitely think it fits more his personality," he said. "This is still a death penalty case."

Defense attorney Ron Yengich questioned how Bond was picked out of photo lineup when Pam Mortensen originally said she couldn't recall the different characteristics between the two defendants. Questions were raised about how the photos were presented to the defendants.

It was noted that Rettig was never picked out of a photo lineup. Roger Mortensen, authorities said, refused to participate in looking at a photo lineup after he had been arrested.

After the slaying, Rettig reportedly did not want to have anything to do with Bond. Police testified Monday that Rettig did not want any of the weapons they had just stolen.

"Ben didn't want anything to do with this after they got back to Vernal," Adams testified. He said Bond also told him: '"He left me holding the bag."'

Adams served the search warrant at Bond's Vernal home. A trash bag with four handguns that Adams knew belonged to Mortensen was found in the home. Three additional rifles were found in a bedroom.

At that point, Bond told the detective, "I know it looks bad," but tried to explain that he bought the weapons at a gun show, Adams said.

Later, however, Bond allegedly confessed. He said he and Rettig were hurting for money and Bond's father was a friend of Mortensen. Bond had been in Mortensen's house before and knew of his weapons cache. The two devised a plan to rob Mortensen but had no intention of killing him, according to Adams.

Email: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere