AMERICAN FORK — As the verdict pronouncing Martin Bond guilty in the murder of a retired BYU professor was read late Friday night, Kay Mortensen's son and daughter-in-law couldn't hold back their emotions.
Roger and Pamela Mortensen at one point were considered suspects in the November 2009 killing and were put in jail, until Bond's ex-wife and her boyfriend contacted police when they realized the couple was to stand trial for the murder.
The Mortensens had been held hostage at gunpoint by Bond, who was convicted of three counts of aggravated kidnapping in addition to single counts of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.
"Due to false charges, family members and friends turned on us," Pamela Mortensen said. "Our reputations in our community and church were destroyed. We are glad that the truth has finally come out."
Pamela Mortensen said she's grateful to the people who helped reveal what really happened that night.
"If it hadn't been for their actions, Kay Mortensen's murder would have gone unsolved," she said. "Even worse, Roger and I could be serving the rest of our lives in prison, not only for a crime we did not commit, for one one in which we ourselves were victims."
Prosecutor Tim Taylor said he has apologized to the Mortensens.
"We made a mistake," Taylor said. "The ironic thing about this whole thing is that if we wouldn't have put them in jail, the chances of us finding out who really did this may not have ever come to fruition."
After more than three years, Kay Mortensen's widow, Darla, is grateful the truth is known.
"It is such a tragedy, the lives that have been shattered and damaged," she said. "Things will never be the same for so many families. I am grateful the truth has come out, that Roger and Pam have been exonerated."
Bond will have a chance at appeal and will not face the death penalty. He will be formally sentenced March 5.
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