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Jenkins, one of the three teens charged in Warwick murder, enters plea

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WILLMAR — One of three teens charged in the killing of a Willmar woman last summer has pleaded guilty.

Devon Jenkins, 16, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a charge of unintentional second-degree murder for his role in the July 29 killing of Lila Warwick at her Willmar residence.

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Under questioning by District Judge Michael J. Thompson, Jenkins told the court that he was a passenger in the car that Brok Junkermeier drove to Warwick’s home during the early morning hours of July 29 after the two teens had been smoking marijuana.

Jenkins said that Junkermeier had a mask, gloves and an 8-inch to 1-foot-long sword with him and told Jenkins that “he was going to steal from her and kill her.” Jenkins told the court that he stayed in the car while Junkermeier went into Lila Warwick’s house, but that he knew Junkermeier was at least going to rob Warwick or burglarize her home.

Jenkins said he smoked more marijuana and watched videos on his phone before falling asleep waiting for Junkermeier. The teen woke as Junkermeier was returning to the vehicle, he said.  

“He was bloody from the incident,” Jenkins said, noting that Junkermeier told him that Lila Warwick was dead.

Jenkins said that he thought Junkermeier was “just boasting” about killing Warwick. “I didn’t think any of this was going to happen,” he said.

As part of a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, Jenkins will receive a juvenile sentence, under the extended juvenile jurisdiction program, until Jenkins turns 21 years old. As part of extended juvenile jurisdiction, Jenkins will also receive a stayed adult sentence, of 180 months in prison, which could be executed if he fails to comply with the juvenile sentence requirements.  

Jenkins’ dispositional hearing for the juvenile sentence is scheduled for Jan. 27. Under the plea agreement, another second-degree murder charge, for intentional murder, will be dismissed. Jenkins was ordered to remain in custody at Prairie Lakes Youth Detention Center in Willmar.

Junkermeier, 19, of Willmar, and Lila Warwick’s grandson Robert Warwick, 18, also of Willmar, have been indicted on first-degree murder charges. Both face the possibility of life in prison if convicted. They remain in custody in the Kandiyohi County Jail on $2 million bail.

Robert Warwick was the alleged mastermind of the crime, and was allegedly motivated by a large amount of money he suspected was in his 79-year-old grandmother’s possession. Junkermeier is alleged to have stabbed and strangled her after making her write him a check from her bank account.

Junkermeier and Warwick allegedly returned to Lila Warwick’s home later and stole a small safe and other items. Some of the items were found when law enforcement officers searched Junkermeier’s home.

Lila Warwick’s body was discovered later that same day, after she missed a meeting at her church and law enforcement was asked to check on her. An autopsy showed she had been stabbed and strangled to death.

Robert Warwick’s next hearing is Dec. 20 and Junkermeier’s next court date is Jan. 9.

Junkermeier is also the subject of a mental examination, which was ordered Nov. 20 in his case. His attorney has filed a motion giving notice that Junkermeier may claim a defense that he is mentally ill or deficient. The report on the exam is expected by mid-January.

Jenkins said during questioning in Tuesday’s plea hearing that Junkermeier sat in the vehicle for a little while before entering Warwick’s home and seemed nervous, offering Jenkins $5,000 to come along into the house.

“I didn’t want to involve myself in the crime,” Jenkins said. “I was against it.”

Jenkins also said he now feels that his questions to Junkermeier, including rhetorical questions about if Junkermeier was actually going to do it and why they were at the house if Junkermeier wasn’t going to go inside, may have pushed Junkermeier to do the crime to save face with Jenkins.

At the end of Tuesday’s hearing, Jenkins apologized to Judge Thompson and everyone in the courtroom. “I’m truly sorry,” he said. “It was never my intention. I’m trying to be a man and accept the fact that I did wrong. I’m truly deeply sorry.”

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Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

(320) 214-4373
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