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Grandfather in Court on Murder Charges

Updated: Wednesday, February 27 2013, 07:41 PM EST
COLUMBUS-- Looking frail and forlorn, Leif Mortensen, 72, pleaded not guilty to charges he murdered his wife of fifty years. Police said Mortensen stabbed his wife to death in the kitchen of their North Side home February 13.

Mortensen called 9-1-1 from his home telling dispatchers he didn't know why he hurt his wife.

Police said Mortensen also stabbed himself and was hospitalized for six days due to those injuries.

Mortensen was handcuffed to his wheelchair in the courtroom and gave a small wave to his family.

Four of the Mortensen's six children were at the arraignment.

They declined to comment but said their attorney would speak for them.

Mortensen's lawyer Kevin Kerns told ABC 6/FOX 28 his client misses his wife.

Kerns said the family is praying for "Mort" and that they are supportive of him "The kids care for their dad deeply and they are grieving for their mother."

Kerns would not say what his defense will be, just that the not guilty plea is an appropriate one.


Reporter: LuAnn Stoia
Web Producer: Kellie Hanna


COLUMBUS -- A grandfather is now facing a murder charge after he called
911 this week to tell dispatchers he fatally stabbed his wife.

ABC 6/FOX 28 obtained 911 calls made from Leif Mortensen, 72, Wednesday afternoon from his home on Kingpin Dr.

"I just killed my wife," Mortensen told the dispatcher. "I tried to stab myself in the throat."

"Was this an accident or did you do this on purpose?" asked the dispatcher during the seven minute emergency call.

"I did it on purpose," Mortensen answered calmly. "I just did it. That's all. I don't know why."

say Mortensen stabbed his wife Margaret, 74, several times in the head
and chest. Mortensen told dispatchers he left the knife on the kitchen
sink as his wife lay on the kitchen floor.

Preliminary autopsy
reports indicate Margaret has cuts on her arms, suggesting she may have
tried to defend herself during the attack.

Mortensen told the
dispatcher he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the
time of the murder, and had never hurt himself or his wife until

Court records show the Mortensens had not filed for divorce, and neighbors described them as a happy couple.

The Mortensens are believed to have renewed their wedding vows at Saint Anthony Parish in March, 2012.

say they must still pull the couple's medical records and listen to the
911 tapes themselves before completing their investigation.

Leif Mortensen is listed in critical condition at a central Ohio hospital.


Reporter: Lisa Rantala
Web Producer: Ken HinesGrandfather in Court on Murder Charges

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