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HomeNewsHearing to Consider Levi Axtell’s Competency for Murder Trial

Hearing to Consider Levi Axtell’s Competency for Murder Trial

Last summer, Judge Micheal Cuzzo deter­mined that Levi Axtell (28) of Grand Marais was incompetent to proceed in a trial of charges that bludgeoned Lawrence Scully (77) to death on the afternoon of March 8, 2023.

In his order, the judge suspended criminal proceedings and ordered civil commitment for Axtell. He went on to set a February 12, 2024, deadline to receive an evaluation of Axtell’s mental condition and competency to proceed with the trial.

Axtell has been re-evaluated and appeared before Judge Steven Hanke in Grand Marais via Zoom from the Lake County jail on Febru­ary 12, 2024. Prosecutors and defense counsel expect to receive the report on this recent eval­uation by the end of this month. Judge Han­ke set a hearing on the competency report for March 11, 2024.

Axtell allegedly entered Scully’s home on the east side of Grand Marais and beat Scully on the head with a shovel he’d picked up on Scully’s deck before entering.

Axtell drove from Scully’s house to the Cook County Law Enforcement Center and turned himself in immediately following the alterca­tion. He is charged with second-degree murder in the case. (Photo: Cook County Sheriff’s Dept.)

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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