Judge denies change of venue for Warwick murder trial
WILLMAR — District Judge David Mennis has denied a defense request to move the murder trial of Robert Warwick away from Kandiyohi County.
In an order issued today denying the motion for a change of venue, Mennis ruled that Warwick’s attorney had not shown a reasonable likelihood that a fair trial could not be had in Willmar.
Robert “Robbie” Warwick, 18, of Willmar, is scheduled to stand trial on first-degree murder charges starting on July 21 for the July 2013 killing of his grandmother, Lila Warwick, 79, of Willmar.
His attorney, Daniel Mohs, sought the change of venue because of significant pretrial publicity in the case, specifically news coverage by the West Central Tribune.
The judge also ruled that both the defense and the prosecution will have additional peremptory challenges — the ability to dismiss potential jurors without giving a reason — during the jury selection process.
Warwick was one of three people charged in the case. Warwick’s co-defendant, Brok Junkermeier, 19, was sentenced April 9 to life in prison without parole. Junkermeier changed his plea to guilty to first-degree premeditated murder on the 10th day of his jury trial in Kandiyohi County District Court. During his plea hearing, Junkermeier admitted that he stabbed and strangled Lila Warwick.
The third defendant in the case, Devon Jenkins, 16, of Willmar, pleaded guilty in December to aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Jenkins was sentenced to the Prairie Lakes Youth Program, will serve probation until his 21st birthday and must complete 100 hours of community service each year as part of his juvenile sentence.
Under extended juvenile jurisdiction, Jenkins’ adult sentence, of 15 years in prison, was stayed but could be executed if he fails to comply with the juvenile sentence requirements.