Suspects in Mortensen murder want to stand trial together

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PROVO -- The couple accused of murdering former BYU professor Kay Mortensen returned to court Monday.

During a hearing in 4th District Court, attorneys for Roger Mortensen and his wife Pamela Mortensen told the judge they now intend to stand trial together on the charges they say they are innocent of. In August attorneys agreed the two defendants needed their own attorneys to look out for their own interests. Now they say they want more time to review the evidence against them before a trial date is set.

Prosecutors were planning for a trial in December, but now expect it will take two weeks for a trial and say it's likely to be held in January or February.

"We're ready," said Deputy Utah County Attorney Tim Taylor. "We had to prepare for the grand jury, so we're ready."

The Mortensens still proclaim their innocence, and Pamela's attorney Chad Noakes remains critical of investigators for focusing on the couple, not the two men the Mortensens claim held them hostage and committed the murder.

"I think she and the rest of the family is disappointed that there's not being more done to pursue the actual killers in this case," he said. "The state has their theories, and it's our job to show that's not the case."

Both Roger and Pamela were present at Kay Mortensen's home in Payson Canyon on Nov. 16, 2009, when Kay was brutally murdered. During a 911 call that night, Roger told a dispatcher that he found his father in a bathtub with his throat slashed.

The couple told police they were held hostage at the house by men with guns. However, when asked for a description of the men, they couldn't provide one. They were arrested in July.

For now, both Roger and Pamela remain in jail on half a million dollars bail each. It's become clear they won't be able to post bail and will remain behind bars until their trial.

"I think under the circumstances she's doing very well," Noakes said of his client. "It's difficult to be incarcerated when you are innocent."

Prosecutors are turning over the final boxes of evidence in this case for the defense to review.

The judge will set a trial date when the couple returns to court on Oct. 25.


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