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Grand Marais man thinks himself a ‘hero’ for killing convicted child molester; trial postponed | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


DULUTH — Levi Axtell, who earlier this year allegedly confessed to using a shovel and moose antler to kill a Grand Marais man he believed was grooming his daughter, has been committed to Minnesota’s Department of Human Services.

Axtell, 27, was found to be mentally ill and dangerous and chemically dependent after court-ordered mental health evaluations. His criminal case has been suspended until he “can be returned to competency,” Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken said after a review hearing held via Zoom on Monday afternoon.

Neither Hicken nor Axtell’s attorney, Christa Groshek, objected to the findings that he is not currently competent to stand trial.

Dr. Mischelle Vietanen reported that Axtell has hallucinations, delusions, paranoia and severe fluctuations of mood. He “appears to see himself as a hero for having killed the alleged victim and believes that others are likely ‘relieved this was taken care of,'” according to court documents.

Vietanen said Axtell, who has been deemed a high risk of suicide, faces a risk of “again returning to believing he has nothing to lose by engaging in behaviors that could harm himself or others.” He is currently medicated and seeing a psychiatric practitioner. Axtell has agreed that meets the criteria for commitment.

Axtell’s commitment for chemical dependency is for up to six month, and for the mental illness and danger to public finding, up to 90 days. He will be reevaluated in two months.

On March 8, 2022, Axtell walked into the Sheriff’s Office wearing a bloodied shirt and confessed that he had just killed Lawrence Scully, 77. Axtell had sought a protective order against Scully years earlier because of the elderly man’s prison sentence in the 1980s for molesting a 6-year-old girl. Axtell believed Scully was stalking his young daughter and other local children.

He was granted a temporary restraining order that was later dismissed.

In Grand Marais, a town of 1,300 on the North Shore of Lake Superior, there was some support for Axtell — including a truck with a bumper sticker that said “Love for Levi” on it. He was described as a guy with a big smile and dad jokes.

Scully’s reputation was more complicated. Rumors swirled about his past until he ran for mayor in 2014, when his prison sentence was confirmed in the Cook County Herald.

Grand Marais Mayor Tracy Benson has described the case as painful for two families with long histories in the community.

“These are the people we see at the Post Office, the grocery store, we work with them and share interests, faith communities, volunteer together, [and] raise kids,” Benson said in April. “Our local enforcement and our county attorney’s office work under the double weight of their professional services while in their private lives interacting with all as well.”

A handful of Scully’s family members who live in Grand Marais had secured a restraining order against him, citing years of sexual abuse and torture. It was active until the day Scully died — though Patrick Scully and Jon Scully told the Star Tribune that the filing didn’t help. Their oldest brother continued to pop up on the periphery, sometimes in costumes, and watch them.

Patrick Scully was quick to offer financial support to Axtell’s family following Levi’s incarceration.

Axtell did not appear during Monday’s hearing.



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