EVERETT — A Bellingham man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the seemingly random killing of a homeless man in Everett two years ago.
Samuel David Axlund, 23, was sentenced on June 4 in Snohomish County Superior Court to 10 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter and second-degree robbery. The length of the sentence is on the low end of state guidelines.
He was initially charged with second-degree murder. Prosecutors recommended that he be sentenced for the lesser charge of manslaughter because he confessed to robbing a man in Bellingham in 2017.
Around midnight on May 23, 2018, witnesses said they saw Jay Agostinelli, 62, who was homeless, standing at a bus stop on the corner of Broadway and 13th Street. One witness said when he went inside a nearby 7-Eleven, Agostinelli was yelling at nothing in particular. When the witness came back outside, he heard a panicked scream. A younger man was attacking Agostinelli.
Another witness reported that the younger man, later identified as Axlund, assaulted Agostinelli for at least 30 seconds — and continued to attack the older man after he’d fallen to the ground.
Axlund fled. Everett officers arrived to the scene to find Agostinelli bleeding heavily from several gashes in his head.
Agostinelli never regained consciousness. He developed pneumonia and died June 3, 2018.
Doctors say he suffered skull fractures and believed the injuries to be from a hammer.
Detectives searched a mobile home park that Axlund had been seen running toward. They found a hammer on the roof of one of the homes.
Images from security footage were distributed in a police bulletin, and someone in Marysville said they recognized Axlund.
The defendant also reportedly had used his food-stamp card at the nearby 7-Eleven around the time of the attack. In addition, he was seen on transit security cameras traveling from Everett to Bellingham on May 25.
Axlund was in the Whatcom County Jail for an unrelated third-degree assault case when detectives interviewed him. He said he had seen a man yelling in Everett, but he gave conflicting statements about how much he saw, and then requested an attorney.
Police say he also talked about a bloody hammer on jailhouse calls, which were recorded.
He was charged with the murder of Agostinelli in November 2018 and transferred to the Snohomish County Jail in January 2019.
In February of this year, Axlund admitted to an unsolved Bellingham robbery, in the hopes that he would get a lesser sentence in the homicide case.
He said that on Nov. 25, 2017, he and an accomplice robbed a man of his iPad, cellphone and $1,000 in cash. Bellingham police recovered surveillance video and circulated images of the suspects to the public, but never identified them. The statute of limitations on the case was nearly up, according to prosecutors.
Axlund pleaded guilty to killing Agostinelli and to the robbery on April 24. In a sentencing memorandum, defense attorney Laura Shaver wrote that the night he killed Agostinelli, Axlund hadn’t slept in three days, having been on a methamphetamine bender.
He told a detective that he had used methamphetamine, as well as alcohol and marijuana, since at least the age of 16. Since then, he had been in and out of several sober houses.