A Minnesota man turned himself in to the police Wednesday and confessed to have “finished” off a convicted sex offender, he allegedly beat with a shovel, by using a moose antler.
(Video: NBC News)
Wednesday, 27-year-old Levi Axtell of Grand Marais, Minnesota was reportedly intoxicated and covered in blood when he arrived at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to name himself as culprit in the murder of 77-year-old Lawrence V. Scully.
Court documents showed a history between the suspect and the victim as in 2018 Axtell had attempted to obtain an order of protection against Scully after the elderly man, convicted in 1979 of sexually assaulting a six-year-old girl, had been allegedly stalking his 22-month-old daughter.
Around 5 p.m. on March 8, the sheriff’s office received a call from a citizen who said they had “heard screaming coming from the house” owned by Scully after observing someone “smash a vehicle” and then run inside. Shortly thereafter, Axtell went to the authorities “put his hands on his head and said that he murdered [Scully] with a shovel.”
The affidavit noted the suspect had allegedly struck the decedent “15-20 times” with a shovel before Axtell confessed he “finished him off” with a moose antler. Speaking with NBC News, Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen confirmed that the confession from the suspect matched the evidence they discovered at the crime scene.
As reported by the outlet, the reason Axtell’s order of protection, that had originally been granted, was dropped weeks later remained unknown. The suspect had alleged in 2018 that “he had observed [Scully] parked in the vehicle at locations where children were present and believed he would reoffend.”
“He has been there many times stalking children in his van. He is a convicted pedophile, and him stalking and attempting to groom my daughter is completely inappropriate and needs to stop,” Axtell had written at the time.
Friday, the suspect appeared before Judge Michael Cuzzo by video from the Cook County Jail where he was booked on a second-degree murder charge when county attorney Molly Hicken requested his bail be set at $1 million.
“This was a brutal attack without provocation on an elderly man” she asserted to the judge. He agreed and said, “Given the nature of the charge, that alone presents a flight risk.”
According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, around two years after the temporary protection order had been removed, Axtell took to Facebook and posted an image of someone pointing a gun that read, “Only cure for pedophiles. A bullet.”
He included the comment, “People always ask me why I hate pedophiles. They assume I’ve been abused. But really I think being protective is just an Axtell trait.”
The suspect’s uncle, Todd Axtell, had been chief of police in St. Paul from 2016 to 2022 and he told the Start Tribune, “I love my nephew and my entire family, a family that has been deeply impacted by this heartbreaking incident. I’m also thinking about the amazing Grand Marais community during this difficult time. I have always believed in, and supported, the criminal justice system — a system that will now do what it’s designed to do.”
Of note, in 2014, the small community of less than 1,400 had awarded Scully, who was released for his conviction in 1982, 42 votes in his bid for mayor. Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux won be securing 345 votes.
Axtell’s next court appearance is scheduled for April 10.
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