Wednesday, June 19, 2024
 July 20, 2023

Husband arrested in murder of 79-year old wife

In a shocking turn of events, a 79-year-old man from the rural outskirts of Perham was apprehended by the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s office on charges of murdering his 77-year-old wife.

The accused, Paul Edward Mart, was taken into custody following a distressing report of a potential murder in the serene Big Pine Lake area.

The call was received around 10:30 a.m., on the fateful Monday morning of July 17. The horrifying details of the crime began to unfold when Mart confessed to his daughter that he had committed the unthinkable act of killing his wife, Jean Harriette Mart.

As per the court documents, Mart revealed a chilling account of the incident. He admitted to having bashed his wife's head into the floor in a fit of rage, after which he retired to bed.

The next morning, he woke up to find her lifeless, as reported by Valley News Live.

Unsettling disclosures and a tense standoff

As the investigation progressed, Mart's statements took a darker turn, revealing a disturbed state of mind. He mentioned contemplating "suicide by cop" and issued a chilling warning that if any officers showed up, he would open fire at them, forcing them to retaliate and kill him. This information, coupled with the knowledge that Mart had three firearms in the house and appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, led to a massive police response.

Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Otter Tail County SWAT Team, were called to the scene. Authorities took immediate action and evacuated people in the vicinity, while the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office assisted Mart’s daughter in negotiating with him to surrender.

During the negotiations, Mart made several disturbing statements. He claimed to have consumed a bottle of opiates and described the victim’s face as being bruised and discolored. He expressed his unwillingness to face incarceration and his inability to forgive himself for his actions.

Chilling details of the crime and subsequent arrest

Mart recalled getting into an argument with the victim on Saturday night, which resulted in her falling to the ground. He also made a comment about slamming her head into the granite flooring multiple times. The next morning, he found her lying naked and covered in blood, a sight that would haunt him and the community for a long time.

After hours of tense negotiations, Mart finally surrendered around 3:00 p.m. on Monday, June 17. Officers on the scene noted dried blood on his hands and feet, a grim testament to the brutal crime. A 9mm handgun, also smeared with dried blood, was found discarded in a waste basket near pill bottles.

Paul Mart was subsequently booked into the Otter Tail County Jail on charges of 2nd degree murder. He made his first court appearance on Wednesday, July 19, where he faced the consequences of his actions.

Autopsy report and final observations

Jean Mart’s body was transported to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office for a post-mortem examination. The autopsy report listed her cause of death as a gunshot wound to the head, accompanied by multiple blunt-force injuries. The manner of death was determined to be homicide, confirming the suspicions of the investigators.

Before his arrest, Mart was quoted as saying:

"I cannot forgive myself and remember banging her around and that I probably killed her."

This chilling confession provides a glimpse into the horrifying ordeal that Jean Mart must have endured.


  • Paul Edward Mart, a 79-year-old man, was arrested for the murder of his wife, Jean Harriette Mart.
  • The incident took place in the Big Pine Lake area, and the call was made around 10:30 a.m., Monday, July 17.
  • Mart confessed to his daughter that he had killed his wife by bashing her head into the floor.
  • During negotiations with the police, Mart made several disturbing statements and eventually surrendered.
  • He was booked into the Otter Tail County Jail on charges of 2nd degree murder.
  • The autopsy report listed the cause of death as a gunshot wound to the head, with multiple blunt force injuries.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.
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