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Minnesota Father Beats 77-Year-Old Sex Offender To Death With Shovel And Moose Antler

Grand Marais, MN – A Minnesota father bludgeoned a 77-year-old sex offender to death with a moose antler and a shovel last week after the convicted child abuser allegedly sat in his van and watched his daughter and other children at a local daycare.

Lawrence Scully, 77, was convicted of sexually assaulting a six-year-old girl in Kanabec County, Minnesota, in 1979, KARE reported.

He was 33 years old at the time.

Scully was sentenced to prison for the offense and was released back into the community in 1982.

Levi Axtell, 27, alleged in 2018 that Scully had been stalking Axtell’s 22-month-old daughter and other children at a local daycare using his van, which Axtell said Scully parked nearby, KARE reported.

The concerned father, who is also the nephew of retired St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell, obtained an order of protection against Scully, but court records indicate the order was only in place for a few weeks before it was dismissed by the judge.

“He has been [outside the daycare] many times stalking children in his van,” Axtell wrote in a request for the protection order, according to the Star Tribune. “He is a convicted pedophile, and him stalking and attempting to groom my daughter is completely inappropriate and needs to stop.”

Axtell said in the petition that Scully would wait for his daughter “to go on walks from daycare,” at which point he would allegedly approach her and try to talk to her, the Daily Mail reported.

“They do not know each other,” Axtell noted.

Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen said there had recently been additional allegations made against Scully, but nothing that resulted in criminal charges, KARE reported.

The investigation “didn’t reveal anything,” Sheriff Eliasen said. “Most of the reports were regarding harassment.”

Scully was a notorious longtime resident of Grand Marais, according to WTIP.

He launched a mayoral campaign back in 2014, but his effort fell short as many residents balked at the idea of electing a convicted sexual predator into office, WTIP reported.

According to court documents, Axtell took matters into his own hands on March 8, when he showed up at Scully’s home and beat him to death with a shovel and a moose antler, KARE reported.

After bludgeoning the convicted sex offender to death, an intoxicated Axtell drove himself to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and confessed to the murder, according to investigators.

Axtell, who had no significant prior criminal history, was allegedly covered in blood when he arrived at the sheriff’s office, KARE reported.

“[He] put his hands on his head and said that he had murdered [Scully] with a shovel,” court documents read.

He said he hit Scully 15 to 20 times with the shovel before he grabbed a large moose antler and “finished him off,” according to investigators.

Axtell allegedly demanded deputies handcuff him and said he was going to hurt someone else if they didn’t, the Star Tribune reported.

The CCSO said they also received a 911 call from a witness who reported having seen someone pull into Scully’s driveway and “smash a vehicle” just before 5 p.m., FOX News reported.

The suspect then ran into Scully’s home, according to court documents.

“The citizen then heard screaming coming from the house,” police said.

The witness was still on the phone with the dispatcher when Axtell emerged from the home about a minute later and drove himself about three blocks down the street to the sheriff’s office, according to court documents.

Cook County deputies responded to Scully’s home and found him to be “obviously dead from the serious nature of his head wounds,” KARE reported.

Investigators said he also had defensive wounds on his arms, according to FOX News.

Axtell allegedly told investigators he had known Scully for years and was familiar with his status as a sex offender, KARE reported.

“[Axtell] believed him to have sexually offended against children in the past,” according to court documents. “[Axtell] said he had observed [Scully] parked in the vehicle at locations where children were present and believed he would re-offend.”

Axtell was arrested on a second-degree murder charge and was booked into jail, KARE reported.

A judge set his bail at $1 million on March 10.

His next court hearing is scheduled for April 10, WTIP reported.

Axtell faces up to 40 years in prison if he is convicted, according to KSTP.

Retired Chief Axtell told KARE that he loves his nephew and that his entire family “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,” he added.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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