1 of 3 teens pleads guilty in death of Willmar woman
By Gretchen Schlosser / Forum News Service
A Willmar teenager pleaded guilty this morning to a charge of unintentional second-degree murder for his role in the killing of a 79-year-old woman in her Willmar residence.
As part of a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, Devon Jenkins, 16, will receive an extended juvenile sentence until he’s 21 years old and a stayed adult sentence, of 180 months in prison, which will be executed if Jenkins fails to comply with the juvenile sentence conditions. Sentencing was set for Jan. 27.
Jenkins was accused along with Brok Junkermeier and Robert Warwick, the victim’s grandson, in the death of Lila Warwick on July 29.
Under questioning by Judge Michael J. Thompson, Jenkins said he and Junkermeier, who faces first-degree murder charges in the case, smoked marijuana and went to Warwick’s home during the early morning hours of July 29.
Junkermeier had a mask, gloves and an 8-inch- to 1-foot-long sword with him and told Jenkins that “he was going to steal from her and kill her,” Jenkins said.
The teen said Junkermeier sat in the vehicle for a little while before entering Warwick’s home and seemed nervous, offering Jenkins $5,000 to come along.
Jenkins said he now feels that his questions to Junkermeier, including rhetorical questions about if Junkermeier was actually going to do it and why they were at the house if Junkermeier wasn’t going to go inside, may have pushed Junkermeier to do the crime to save face with him.
Jenkins stayed in the car while Junkermeier went into the house and Jenkins said that he knew that Junkermeier was at least going to rob Warwick or burglarize her home. He said he smoked more marijuana and watched videos on his phone before falling asleep.
The teen woke as Junkermeier was returning to the vehicle, he said. “He was bloody from the incident,” Jenkins said, noting that Junkermeier told him that Lila Warwick was dead.
Junkermeier, 19, and Robert Warwick, 18, both of Willmar, have been indicted on first-degree murder charges in the case. Both face the possibility of life in prison if convicted.
Robert Warwick was the alleged mastermind of the crime, and was allegedly motivated by a large amount of money he suspected was in his grandmother’s possession. Junkermeier allegedly entered the 79-year-old grandmother’s home and stabbed and strangled her after making her write him a check from her bank account.
The teens also allegedly returned to Lila Warwick’s home later and stole a small safe and other items from the residence. Some of the items were found later at Junkermeier’s home.
Jenkins was ordered to remain in custody at Prairie Lakes Youth Detention Center in Willmar until his sentencing.