Rural Minnesota man convicted of murdering his father and burning down his house

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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.

Hardy Wills-Traxler, 27, previously pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge related to the death of Bruce Traxler, 64, in late January last year. In exchange for the guilty plea, LeSueur County prosecutors dismissed an arson charge.

Wills-Traxler was arrested after LeSueur County deputies were called to the family’s rural property near Center on Jan. 24, 2021 to investigate a fire report. When they arrived on the scene, they found a shed that was used as a residence on fire and later discovered the Elder Traxler’s body 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 snowplow driver and a group of snowmobilers to whom he had made comments about his father’s murder.

Complaint Wills-Traxler-Le Sueur County Court

Complaint Wills-Traxler-Le Sueur County Court

The criminal complaint says that after his arrest, Wills-Traxler met with a LeSueur County investigator and admitted to stabbing his father multiple times after the two had an argument. He also described how he started the fire in the residence by placing pillows on a stove and lighting the burners.
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Prosecution of the case was delayed last year when a LeSueur County judge ruled Wills-Traxler was not competent to stand trial. He was temporarily committed to a mental health facility for treatment and was finally found fit to stand trial in October last year.

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