Crime

Bellingham man charged in 2018 homicide of homeless man at Everett bus stop

A 22-year-old Bellingham man allegedly attacked a 62-year-old homeless man at an Everett bus stop with a hammer last May, eventually resulting in the death of the victim.

Samuel David Axlund was booked into Snohomish County Jail on Wednesday and has been charged with second-degree murder.

Axlund was transferred to Snohomish County Jail after completing a sentence at Whatcom County Jail for a third-degree assault conviction, according to Whatcom County court records.

At approximately midnight May 24, according to Snohomish County Superior Court documents, Jay D. Agostinelli was standing near a bus stop on the east side of Broadway in Everett near the corner of 13th Street and Broadway “yelling at nothing in particular.” Witnesses told police they saw the two men appear to be talking, when Axlund began attacking Agostinelli.

Agostinelli reportedly fell into the bushes, but witnesses said the attack lasted approximately 30 seconds longer and they later saw a man speed-walking away from the bus stop.

One of the witnesses reported that he found Agostinelli laying in the bushes and bleeding heavily from multiple injuries to his head. The witness called 911, and Agostinelli was taken to Providence Hospital, where he was taken into surgery but never regained consciousness and died from his injuries on June 3.

Doctors at Providence Hospital and the doctor who later performed the autopsy on Agostinelli noted multiple depressed skull fractures that, according to court records, had “the appearance of hammer blows.”

Detectives reportedly found a hammer on the roof of a nearby unoccupied mobile home and sent it to the Washington State Patrol Crime lab for analysis. DNA results were still pending when the court documents were filed.

From viewing surveillance video in the area and speaking to witnesses, police learned that Axlund made a purchase at a nearby convenience store using a card that had the same last four numbers as an EBT card that was found in Axlund’s wallet, according to court documents.

Police also used the convenience store’s surveillance footage to circulate a picture that was identified as Axlund by a Marysville Crime and Intelligence analyst, documents said.

Public transportation surveillance video showed Axlund traveling from Everett to Bellingham on May 25, records state.

Detectives later learned Axlund was an inmate at Whatcom County Jail. Axlund was sentenced July 12 to eight months incarceration, according to Whatcom County court records, for a May 26 incident when he spit on the hand of a corrections deputy after he was arrested on suspicion of stealing food items from a convenience store on Lakeway Drive earlier that night.

According to the Snohomish County court records, detectives questioned Axlund in Whatcom County Jail about the attack in Everett, and Axlund admitted to seeing Agostinelli at the bus stop, but said he did not attack him. Axlund told detectives he witnessed the attack, saying, “I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.”

Detectives began monitoring Axlund’s jail phone calls after his May 26 booking, according to court documents, and on Aug. 2 he reportedly told a woman he that he was a suspect in a homicide in Everett.

The woman reportedly confirmed to detectives that Axlund had spoken about the homicide on May 25 and that Axlund had told her about seeing a bloody hammer in a tree — information that had not previously been released to the public.

On Nov. 9, Snohomish County Superior Court issued a warrant for Axlund’s arrest.

Axlund, who also has two Whatcom County convictions for theft from 2015 according to court records, is scheduled to begin a jury trail on March 22.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.

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