Father Accused of Using Moose Antler to Kill a Sex Offender He Believed Had Been Stalking His Daughter
A Minnesota man is charged with second-degree intentional murder in the death of a 77-year-old man.
A young father is accused of killing an older man by beating him with a shovel before "finishing him off" with a large moose antler. The father believed the older man had stalked his toddler daughter. Levi W. Axtell, 27, of Cook County, Minnesota, was charged Friday in Cook County District Court with second-degree intentional murder in connection with the death of Lawrence V. Scully, 77, of Grand Marais, Minnesota, court records showed.
Axtell, in 2018 accused Scully of stalking his then-22-month-old daughter by sitting in a van as she was taken on walks from her Grand Marais daycare. "He has been there many times stalking children in his van," Axtell said in a request for an order of protection at the time. "He is a convicted pedophile, and him stalking and attempting to groom my daughter is completely inappropriate and needs to stop." Here's what you need to know about this brutal case.
Who Is Levi Axtell?
Axtell is a nephew of Todd Axtell, who was chief of police of St. Paul, Minnesota, from 2016 until 2022. Levi Axtell once posted on Facebook, "Only cure for pedophiles. A bullet." "People always ask me why I hate pedophiles," Levi Axtell added. "They assume I've been abused. But really I think being protective is just an Axtell trait." Levi Axtell had a record of one criminal charge against him involving felony damage to property; it is unclear what happened in that case.
Who Is the Victim?
Scully was convicted in Kanabec County, Minnesota, in 1979 of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl, for which he served time in prison until 1982, according to law enforcement officials and state records. He moved to Cook County in the early 1980s. Scully ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Grand Marais in 2014.
What Was Levi Axtell's Beef With Scully?
Axtell requested an order of protection in 2018, which was granted temporarily but dismissed a few weeks later. After his arrest last week, Axtell told law enforcement officials that he "believed [Scully] to have sexually offended against children in the past," according to a criminal complaint. Axtell "said he had observed [Scully] parked in the vehicle at locations where children were present and believed he would reoffend," the complaint added. Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen told The Associated Press Friday that allegations had been made recently against Scully, but an investigation "didn't reveal anything. Most of the reports were regarding harassment."
What Happened Last Week
The sheriff's office received a call at about 4:45 p.m. Wednesday of a minivan that pulled into Scully's driveway, after which the caller heard screaming, then saw the van leave. Deputies found Scully inside the house, "obviously dead from the serious nature of his head wounds," according to court documents.
Moments later, Axtell arrived at the Sheriff's Office in a van, covered in blood and apparently intoxicated, according to court records. He dropped to his knees, "put his hands on his head and said that he had murdered [Scully] with a shovel," according to court documents. Axtell told deputies that he hit Scully 15 to 20 times with a shovel and "finished him off" with a large moose antler, the documents said.
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What Happens Next?
A judge set bail for Axtell at $1 million. He remains in custody in Cook County Jail. "Given the nature of the charge, that alone presents a flight risk," Judge Michael Cuzzo said. "This was a brutal attack without provocation on an elderly man," County Attorney Molly Hicken said. Axtell is scheduled to return to court on April 10.