Gretchen Schlosser, Forum News Service, Published September 19 2013
2 teens indicted on first-degree murder charges in Willmar killing
The grand jury’s indictments were filed Wednesday in Kandiyohi County District Court. In Minnesota, first-degree murder charges, which are punishable by life in prison without parole, can come only from a grand jury.
Each of the young men faces one count of first-degree premeditated murder and one count of first-degree murder with intent while committing a felony — in this case the felony of first-degree burglary. Both made their first appearances on the first-degree charges Wednesday, and Warwick’s unconditional bail was set at $2 million. Junkermeier was already being held on $2 million unconditional bail.
The indictment against Warwick, 17, is filed as an adult case in District Court, and the juvenile court file against him has been dismissed. He is allegedly the mastermind of the plan to rob and kill Lila Warwick, 79, apparently believing that his grandmother had a safe in the home containing more than $40,000, according to court documents.
Junkermeier, 19, of Willmar, is accused of entering Lila Warwick’s residence, attacking her and cutting her hand with a small sword, and then forcing her to write him a check from her bank account. He then stabbed and strangled her before putting her body in the basement of her home, court documents allege.
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.
According to court records, the single second-degree murder charge that was initially filed against Junkermeier was dismissed Thursday.
Warwick has left juvenile detention and is now held in the Kandiyohi County Jail, where Junkermeier is also being held.
There is no indication that the third individual initially charged in the case, Devon James Jenkins, 16, was included in the grand jury indictment. He has been in custody at Prairie Lakes Youth Detention Center in Willmar.
His juvenile file with two second-degree murder charges remains open. However, no new court date has been set in his case. Jenkins is allegedly the person who drove Junkermeier to Lila Warwick’s residence and waited in the vehicle while the murder was being committed.
Junkermeier’s next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 16.
Warwick’s next appearance has not been set. An appearance that had previously been set for Monday in the juvenile file has been canceled.
Both Junkermeier and Warwick are now being prosecuted by the attorney general’s office, with Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank listed as the prosecutor.