Rural Minnesota Man Sentenced For Murdering Father, Torching Home
Le Center, MN (KROC-AM News) - A south-central Minnesota man has been sentenced to more than 25 years in prison for the murder of his father.
27-year-old Hardy Wills-Traxler earlier entered a guilty plea to a second-degree murder charge connected to the death of 64-year-old Bruce Traxler in late January of last year. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors in LeSueur County dismissed an arson charge.
Wills-Traxler was arrested after LeSueur County Deputies were called to the family's rural property near Le Center on January 24, 2021, to investigate a report of a fire. When they arrived at the scene, they found a shed that served as a residence on fire and later discovered the body of the elder Traxler inside the structure.
Wills-Traxler was apprehended following a traffic stop in Blue Earth County. Authorities were looking for his vehicle at the time after receiving reports that he had made contact with a snow plow driver and a group of snowmobilers to whom he made comments about killing his father.
The criminal complaint says, after his arrest, Wills-Traxler met with a LeSueur County investigator and admitted to stabbing his father multiple times after the two got into an argument. He also described how he started the fire in the residence by placing some pillows on a cooking stove and turning on the burners
The prosecution of the case was delayed last year when a LeSueur County judge ruled Wills-Traxler was incompetent to stand trial. He was temporarily committed to a mental health facility for treatment and was finally deemed competent for trial in October of last year.