Union-Bulletin Court Report

The man suspected of killing and dismembering a Whitman College employee on Monday has been charged with first-degree murder.

Court documents released today state Colby J. Hedman, 23, with no permanent address, admitted to police he struck Kyle J. Martz, 35, with an ax multiple times before stealing his car and fleeing to Oregon, where he was arrested Monday night.

No motive for the killing was provided in the report.

On Monday, police found two coolers in a locked garage at 331 S. Fourth Ave., records said. The lock had not been on the garage earlier, according to reports. A square shovel, hammer and ax with blood on them were found nearby. Blood and dismembered human remains were found in one of the coolers, records stated.

Martz’s roommate had alerted authorities at about 6 p.m. that he was missing “under suspicious circumstances,” according to records. The roommate found blood in different parts of the house and noticed a strong smell of bleach, according to documents.

Two people living next door told police they last saw Martz around 10 p.m. Sunday on the back porch, records said. The neighbors also told police they loaned an ax and shovel on Monday to a man in a red shirt, later identified as Hedman, records stated. He allegedly told them he needed the tools for work, records stated. The two then smoked marijuana with Hedman in the afternoon.

Detectives "pinged" Martz’s cell phone near North Powder, Ore. Oregon police found and arrested a man matching Hedman’s description Monday night for allegedly stealing at least one vehicle — including the victim’s — and attempting to elude law enforcement in Baker City. The court documents state Hedman confessed to police that he killed Martz "with an ax, hitting him multiple times." He also told investigators that Martz was "still on the property."

Martz was a Whitman graduate and international student and scholar adviser at the college. Police suspect the two didn’t know each other. 

Martz worked at Whitman for seven years and graduated with a gender and German studies degree in 2007, according to an email to staff on Tuesday from Whitman College President Kathy Murray.

She wrote that the Glover Alston Center was open for people to gather to support one another, and people can call the counseling center at 527-5195 or the dean of student's office at 527-5158.

Emily Thornton can be reached at emilythornton@wwub.com or 509-526-8325.

Emily Thornton covers courts and emergency services, as well as other various stories. She has been in the newspaper industry off and on since roughly 1999 and lived primarily on the West Coast, but also Florida and Europe.