Junkermeier trial for Lila Warwick murder set to start Tuesday
WILLMAR — A jury trial is set to begin Tuesday for the 19-year-old Willmar man who allegedly admitted to law enforcement officers that he killed his friend’s grandmother, Lila Warwick, last summer.
There is a trial management conference for Brok Junkermeier at 3 p.m. Monday, with a Tuesday morning start to jury selection for the trial expected to last up to three weeks before District Judge Donald Spilseth in Kandiyohi County District Court.
Warwick, 79, was found dead, stabbed and strangled, at her residence on the east edge of Willmar after she failed to arrive at a church meeting on July 29.
Spilseth has previously ruled that the jury will be allowed to hear Junkermeier’s admission to officers during an interview a few days later that he had killed Lila Warwick. The judge’s omnibus order notes that Junkermeier initially told investigators the $1,500 check he had from Lila Warwick was for doing chores around her home and that he was sleeping at home when the murder happened.
Junkermeier’s attorney, Kent Marshall, had argued that his client wasn’t mentally competent to waive his Miranda rights against self-incrimination before speaking with the investigators. Junkermeier was evaluated for mental competency after Marshall gave notice that his client may rely on the defense that he was mentally ill or mentally deficient. In the omnibus order, Spilseth also found no validity to the argument that Junkermeier was not mentally competent.Junkermeier and Lila Warwick’s grandson Robert Warwick, 18, were indicted on first-degree murder charges for their alleged roles in her killing. Warwick’s case is still pending. A third teen, Devon Jenkins, 16, has already been sentenced in the case for aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
The state Attorney General’s office is prosecuting both Junkermeier and Robert Warwick, with Robert Plesha and Matthew Frank, assistant attorneys general, handling the case.
Court documents say that Robert Warwick was the alleged mastermind of the crime, which he and Junkermeier had allegedly planned for months, and was motivated by a large amount of money he suspected was in his grandmother’s possession.
In addition to Junkermeier forcing Lila Warwick to write him a check, the teens also allegedly returned to the home after the killing and stole a small safe. Some of those items, including Lila Warwick’s documents, were found when law officers served a search warrant on Junkermeier’s home.
The prosecution witness list includes more than 50 individuals, including more than 30 law enforcement officers or medical examiners. The defense witness list includes Warwick, Jenkins and Bradley Junkermeier, Brok’s father. The list notes that Brok Junkermeier may take the stand in his own defense.