Axtell was suspicious of Scully and believed he was stalking his toddler daughter at her day care, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Fox News Digital.
Axtell said he had known Scully for a long time "and believed him to have sexually offended against children in the past," the criminal complaint read.
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"(Axtell) said he had observed (Scully) parked in the vehicle at locations where children were present and believed he would re-offend."
He filed an order of protection in 2018 against Scully, which was initially granted but dropped several weeks later. It's unclear why the order of protection was dropped.
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On March 8, shortly before 5 p.m., the Cook County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from a citizen who watched someone pull into Scully's Grand Marais driveway, "smash a vehicle" and "then run into the house," according to the affidavit.
"The citizen then heard screaming coming from the house," the affidavit says. "While on the call, approximately a minute later," the citizen told a dispatcher the man was driving to the police station, which is about three blocks away.
That's when Axtell allegedly told police what happened.
Axtell was covered in blood and "put his hands on his head and said that he had murdered (Scully) with a shovel," according to the affidavit.
Deputies from the Cook County Sheriff's Office found Scully in his Grand Marais, Minnesota, home "obviously dead from the serious nature of his head wounds," according to the criminal complaint.
The cause of death was "blunt force head injuries," the affidavit said, and Scully had "wounds on his arms that are consistent with defensive wounds."
There had been recent allegations against Scully, but an investigation "didn’t reveal anything," Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen told The Associated Press. "Most of the reports were regarding harassment."
Sheriff Eliasen told Fox News Digital in an email Saturday the brutal killing was "quite a shocker" for the small community of Grand Marais, which has a population of about 1,340.
Axtell was arraigned Friday and is being held in the Cook County jail on $1 million bond despite objections from his lawyer, Dennis Shaw.
Shaw noted Axtell had no serious criminal history until now, and his longtime ties to Grand Marais made him a minimal flight risk.
Axtell was convicted of misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and underage drinking in 2014, according to criminal records.
He remains in jail awaiting his next court appearance, which is scheduled for April 10.