Man who killed Whitman College employee, dismembered body sentenced to over 27 years in prison

Walla Walla axe killing suspect to receive mental health evaluation
Colby Hedman makes a court appearance in Walla Walla County on Monday, Sept. 16. 

WALLA WALLA, Wash. — A man who killed a Whitman College employee and dismembered his body in Walla Walla last summer was sentenced Thursday to 333 months in prison, said Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle.

Walla Walla police said Colby Hedman, 24, killed 35-year-old Kyle Martz at the victim’s home in the 300 block of Fourth Avenue in July 2019. He reportedly stole the victim’s car and fled to eastern Oregon, where he was captured in the town of Baker City hours later.

Authorities said Martz’ roommate found their home covered in blood. Martz’ body was found in pieces inside a cooler at his home, and a bloody axe, shovel and hammer coated were discovered on the property.

Last May, Hedman pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Martz’ death last May. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss a vehicle theft charge as part of a deal for the guilty plea. Nagel said the defendant’s sentence — which equates to  27 years, 9 month in prison — was on the high end Hedman’s charge.

At his sentencing hearing Thursday, Hedman read a short apology to Martz’ friends and family for his crimes. The victim’s loved ones then spent about two hours giving impact statements in the courtroom, Nagle said.

Martz was a 2007 graduate of Whitman College who’d been employed by the school for about seven years. He was working as an international student and scholar advisor at the time of his death.