Thursday, February 14, 2013

Columbus, OH: Man held for allegedly stabbing wife to death

Police said they were trying to figure out why a couple, who seemed happy to neighbors, would end up with the 72-year-old husband stabbing his wife to death in their North Side home last night.

Leif H. Mortensen called 911 about 2:30 p.m. yesterday and told a dispatcher that his wife, Margaret R. Mortensen, 74, was dead in the kitchen of their North Side home, 4930 Kingpin Dr., Columbus police homicide Sgt. Christ Holzhauser said.

Mortensen, who was charged with murder last night, told the dispatcher that after stabbing his wife he tried to cut his own throat, Holzhauser said he was taken to Riverside Methodist Hospital in critical condition, but last night his wounds were said not to be life-threatening.The 911 dispatcher was able to keep Mortensen on the phone almost until police arrived.

He came outside the house with wounds in his neck and throat.

“We don’t have any indication as to why this individual did this,” Holzhauser said. “Even speaking with one of the family members, they’re surprised by the event.”

Mortensen gave little explanation to the 911 dispatcher as to why he would stab his wife, other than saying “there wasn’t a problem between him and her,” Holzhauser said.

Mortensen also said that he had never tried to kill himself before, Holzhauser said.

Neighbors in the quiet, 1990s subdivision south of the Minerva Lake Golf Course were stunned to hear what happened involving the friendly couple they saw heading to church and doing yard work.

“In this crazy world, they were normal,” said Vicki Kovarik, who lives next door.

The Mortensens bought the 1,351-square-foot home in 2008.

Pete Miller said he would see the couple out and about.

“They were always waving. They seemed so nice,” Miller said. “It’s a shame.”

Jane Mowrer said the couple seemed healthy and got along well. She never heard any problems between the husband and wife.

“I envied them, because I’m not married, and they seemed so cute,” she said. “You never know.”The death is the 10th homicide of the year in Columbus, police said.

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