Levi Axtell, a 27-year-old father from Minnesota, killed an older man he believed was sexually abusing children. He drove from his victim’s residence on the North Shore to the Sheriff’s Office and turned himself in.
Axtell reported in 2018 that Lawrence V. Scully followed his 22-month-old daughter as she walked from her Grand Marais day care. According to him, Scully accomplished this by parking his van near the day care center and closely supervising his daughter.
In the request put forward by Axtell in 2018, he wrote:
“He has been there numerous times in his van, stalking children,” Axtell stated in her plea for a protective order. “As a convicted pedophile, his stalking and attempts to court my daughter are completely unacceptable and must cease.”
According to court records, the request was granted temporarily and then refused a few weeks later.
Approximately two years later, Axtell posted on Facebook an image of a person brandishing a gun with the caption “The only way to stop pedophiles. A bullet.” He continued, “People frequently ask me why I dislike pedophiles. They believe I have been victimized. However, I believe that protectiveness is simply an Axtell feature.”
In 1979, Scully was convicted in Kanabec County of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl, according to Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen. According to the Texas Department of Corrections, Scully was released from jail in 1982. Early in the 1980s, Scully relocated to the North Shore.
The criminal complaint and a linked court document indicate:
A caller reported to emergency dispatch shortly after 4:45 p.m. that he observed someone exit a vehicle and dash into Scully’s home on E. 5th Street. The caller immediately heard cries and watched the van speed away.
A few minutes later, while already intoxicated, Axtell drove the van to the sheriff’s office. Bloodied, he entered the lobby, fell to his knees, and “put his hands on his head and stated that he had murdered [Scully] with a shovel,” according to court documents.
A deputy sheriff discovered Scully in his home. He was obviously deceased due to the severe head injuries.
Axtell told police that he removed the shovel from the deck, struck Scully 15 to 20 times, and “finished him off” with a few hits from a large moose antler.
He stated that he had known Scully for a long time; Axtell stated that he had observed Scully parking the automobile in areas where children were present and believed that he would reoffend.
Levi W. Axtell was charged with second-degree deliberate murder in Cook County District Court in connection with the death of Lawrence V. Scully, 77, in his Grand Marais, Minnesota residence just north of Highway 61 on Wednesday afternoon.
Axtell appeared by video from the Cook County jail as counsel debated the amount of bail he would need to pay to be released while his case was pending.
“This was a vicious, unprovoked assault on an elderly man,” said County Attorney Molly Hicken, who requested that Judge Michael Cuzzo impose bail at $1 million.
The defense counsel, Dennis Shaw, did not ask for a specific bail amount, but noted that his client had no substantial criminal record previous to the current claims.
Cuzzo agreed with the prosecution, stating, “Given the nature of the charge, this alone poses a flight risk.” Axtell is incarcerated until his next court date on April 10.