Antioch Township man pleads not guilty in death of ex-girlfriend
Michael Axtell pleaded not guilty Thursday to three counts of first-degree murder for the slaying of his 40-year-old ex-girlfriend in Antioch Township.
Axtell, 41, is held on $3 million bond in Lake County jail while awaiting trial for the Oct. 4 murder of Tammy Stone at the home they shared.
Lake County Judge Christopher Stride set Axtell's murder trial for Feb. 11 in front of Judge Victoria Rosetti, though that date is expected to be continued.
Axtell, who does not have a history of criminal activity, was silent during his arraignment, and no members of Stone's family attended the court proceeding.
According to police, Stone and Axtell had never married, but the couple had been in a long-term relationship and lived together on-and-off in the 26000 block of West Bond Avenue in Antioch Township.
At about 10 p.m. on Oct. 4, while the two were allegedly living apart, Stone phoned her daughter to say she was "in a physical altercation" with Axtell, prompting the teen and two of her friends to drive to the home.
After seeing Stone with a black eye, the unidentified daughter got into a scuffle with Axtell that caused no serious injuries, authorities said.
After the teen retreated into the attached garage to cool off, authorities said she heard a loud "thud" from inside the residence and went back inside just as Axtell was leaving.
The daughter said she found Stone unresponsive in a bedroom and she called police about 10:16 p.m., authorities said.
Antioch paramedics took Stone to the Northern Illinois Medical Center in McHenry where she later died of her injuries, police said.
McHenry County Coroner officials determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma, but police found no weapons at the scene.
Axtell was arrested by Lake County sheriff deputies after fleeing the home, authorities said.
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