Murder charges were filed Friday against three teenagers in the killing of 79-year-old Lila Warwick. Among those charged was Warwick's 17-year-old grandson, Robert Warwick, who is accused of helping plan the burglary that led to the murder.
Warwick was arrested Thursday afternoon. The two others, 19-year-old Brok Junkermeier and 16-year-old Devon Jenkins, were arrested late Wednesday night.
The three teenagers are charged with second-degree murder. Warwick and Jenkins were charged by juvenile petition.
Warwick, who lived alone, was found dead Monday, July 29 when deputies were called to her home off Highway 12 to perform a welfare check after she failed to arrive at her church to volunteer.
The preliminary autopsy results show Warwick suffered multiple stab wounds and neck injuries consistent with strangulation.
ADMITTING TO MURDER
In an interview with police, Brok Junkermeier admitted to the murder of Lila Warwick, but said Robert Warwick was the "mastermind" of the plan and believed she had a safe in the house with access to $40,000.
Junkermeier confirmed several other details of the burglary and murder, including:
- Devon Jenkins was "the lookout."
- Junkermeier gained access to the garage of Warwick's home and waited for her to go out to get her mail. When she came out into the garage, Junkermeier cut her hand with a large knife, then led her to a computer to access her bank account and write a check for $1,500.
- Junkermeier choked Lila Warwick, then stabbed her multiple times and threw her into the basement.
MOTIVE FOR MURDER?
Lila Warwick's daughter, Cheri Eckbom, told investigators that Robert had grown distant from his grandmother, who was possibly trying to help the boy with drug issues.
Eckbom said Robert had texted her daughter saying he "hated grandma, could not stand her" and at one point asked how much money he would get "if grandma were to die." She believes that text message was sent over Easter weekend.
Robert Warwick initially denied any direct knowledge of his grandmother's murder, but later admitted to having discussions with Junkermeier about robbing his grandmother and having her write a check from her bank account.
Warwick maintained he didn't expect Junkermeier to kill his grandmother, but later admitted to entering the house after the murder to help steal the safe. He said he was supposed to get $300 from the robbery, but never received any cash.
A funeral for Lila Warwick was held on Saturday at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Willmar. Warwick was a long-time volunteer at the church.