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A man has admitted to fatally stabbing his father in the heart before torching their home in rural southern Minnesota.

Hardy R. Wills-Traxler, 27, pleaded guilty in Le Sueur County District Court to second-degree murder in connection with the killing on Jan. 24, 2021, of 64-year-old Bruce Traxler in the residence they shared outside Le Center. The father and son lived in a shed on the property that included living quarters.

The prosecution and defense both anticipate Wills-Traxler receiving a sentence of 25½ years. With credit for time in jail since his arrest, he can expect to serve roughly the first 16 years in prison and the balance on supervised release.

Wills-Traxler remains jailed without bail ahead of sentencing on Nov. 18. As part of the deal, a first-degree arson charge was dismissed.

"We think the plea was a fair resolution, given all the circumstances," defense attorney Richard Ohlenberg said Monday.

According to the criminal complaint:

Authorities were alerted to the fire by Jeff Traxler, Bruce's brother. Jeff Traxler told a sheriff's deputy at the fire scene that his brother and nephew had not been getting along lately and believed "Hardy did something," the criminal complaint read.

Wills-Traxler told investigators that he and his father were talking the night before when Bruce Traxler "was just staring at him, so he stared back at his dad," the charges read. The two started arguing, the son continued, so he went and got a knife.

Wills-Traxler said his father hit him in the shoulder, so he responded by stabbing him in the heart and numerous times elsewhere. Feeling that he "had to get out there," he lit the shed on fire by putting pillows on the stove and turning on the burners.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison handled the case after it was referred to his office by the Le Sueur county attorney.

"Hardy Willis-Traxler brutally stabbed his own father to death. It was a crime that hurt not only his family, but the community of Le Center and beyond," Ellison's office said in a statement.