Man arrested after SWAT response in Otter Tail County charged with killing his wife

An emergency response that required evacuations and involved a SWAT team Monday in Otter Tail County has led to murder charges against a resident.

The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office said Monday’s incident started after authorities learned that a woman was possibly dead and the suspect was at the scene. It ended later in the day when 79-year-old Paul Edward Mart was taken into custody.

Court documents filed Wednesday show that Mart is charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing his wife.

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According to charging documents, Mart talked to his daughter Monday morning and told her he’d killed his wife at their home in rural Perham. He also reportedly made comments about harming himself, and Anoka County deputies learned that he had guns in his home and threatened to shoot any officers who came to his home, which prompted the large response from law enforcement and evacuations.

The criminal complaint states that after around four hours of negotiations, Mart surrendered and was arrested.

During the negotiations, he allegedly said that he’d bashed his 77-year-old wife’s head into the floor the night before, then went to bed and awoke to find she was dead. However, in addition to blunt force trauma, authorities found that his wife had been shot in the head, court documents state.

The complaint adds that Mart had apparent dried blood on his hands and feet when he was arrested, and a handgun that appeared to have blood on it was found in the home.

He made his first court appearance Wednesday morning and had his bail set at $1.5 million without conditions, $750,000 with conditions or a cash bond of $75,000 with conditions. His next appearance is scheduled for Aug. 2.