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Friends of Junkermeier testify that he talked about killing Lila Warwick

 WILLMAR –– Two high school friends of Brok Junkermeier testified this afternoon that the 19-year-old had talked about killing Lila Warwick prior to her death and that he told them details of how he allegedly killed the 79-year-old grandmother on the day of her death.

Morgan Hoffer, 20, of Willmar secretly recorded the conversation on his cell phone.

Jurors at the Kandiyohi County Courthouse in Willmar listened to the muffled recording as the trial began its second week. Junkermeier, of Willmar, was indicted on first-degree murder charges for killing Warwick and faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted.

Hoffer testified that when he heard that Warwick had been killed on July 29, 2013, he called Junkermeier to “say farewell” because he had heard “things from him and other people” and “put it together” that Junkermeier was involved and figured he would be quickly caught.

Court documents say that Junkermeier attacked Warwick with a knife and forced her to write a check to him for $1,500.

During this time, according to Hoffer, Warwick told Junkermeier that she would help him with school and that God would help him.

Hoffer testified that Junkermeier later said he had tried to strangle Warwick, and when that failed, that he attempted to break her neck, stomped on her throat and finally stabbed her.

She was found dead in the basement of her house, located on the east edge of Willmar.

Hoffer and Tyler Stegeman, an 18-year-old senior at Willmar High School who was also friends with Junkermeier, testified that they had heard Junkermeier talk about killing Warwick to get money but they said they did not believe he was serious and they did not contact police with concern about a potential murder.

“I honestly didn’t think he was going to do it,” said Stegeman, responding to the attorney’s question about why he did not notify authorities early on.  “Who’s going to kill an old lady?”

Hoffer said he thought it was “just talk” and he did not take it seriously until he heard that Warwick had been found dead.

Stegeman testified that Junkermeier called him the day that Warwick’s death was discovered and said that he had killed her. He said he had “killed her. Strangled her. Stomped on her. Stabbed her,” said Stegeman, testifying to his recollection of the conversation with Junkermeier.

After hearing of Warwick’s death, Hoffer contacted police and informed them that Junkermeier and Warwick’s grandson, Robert Warwick, 18, were involved.

Stegeman and Hoffer had similar answers when asked about Junkermeier’s demeanor when he told them he had killed Lila Warwick.

“He seemed happy,” said Stegeman.

“Excited I guess,” said Hoffer of Junkermeier. “Proud almost.”

Robert Warwick also was indicted on first-degree murder charges for his role in the death of his grandmother and faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted.

Testimony continues Tuesday morning in the trial against Junkermeier.

No trial date has been set yet for Robert Warwick.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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