Three Willmar teenagers made separate appearances Friday in Kandiyohi County District Court on murder charges relating to the strangulation and stabbing death of Lila Mae Warwick, 79, of Willmar.
Judge Michael J. Thompson set unconditional bail at $2 million and conditional bail at $1 million for Brok Nathaniel Junkermeier, 19, of Willmar, according to the West Central Tribune. He is charged with second-degree murder with intent - not premeditated, according to the paper.
Thompson set the bail amount due to the risk to public safety and because Junkermeier was considered a possible flight risk, Forum News Service reports.
The two other suspects in the case are juveniles, and one is Warwick's grandson, whom she helped raise, according to several media accounts.
The 17-year-old grandson and a 16-year-old boy were charged Friday in court along with Junkermeier.
The Star Tribune reports from the funeral held for Warwick Saturday at Willmar's Redeemer Lutheran Church, where she had volunteered.
Shocked neighbors and family members tell the Strib that Lila Warwick had helped raise the boy and loved her grandson.
The St. Cloud Times reports a juvenile delinquency petition filed against the grandson states he was the mastermind of the plan to rob and kill Lila Warwick, his grandmother, and believed she had a safe in the house with access to $40,000.
Charges says Junkermeier slashed the victim with a knife, then strangled her, while the 16-year-old acted as a lookout, the Strib reports. The grandson admitted to plotting the break-in and giving the other teenagers information about his grandmother’s house and habits.
Bradley Junkermeier, Brok Junkermeier’s father, issued a statement to reporters after his son’s appearance, according to Forum:
“My family and I want to convey our deepest, deepest sympathy condolences to the victims, friends and family for this horrific catastrophe.”
The Forum report gives a blow-by-blow account, including details like upon discovering her body, investigators saw the computer was on with a login screen to U.S. Bank, and information containing Lila Warwick’s name still visible on the screen.
The Star Tribune talks to Lila Warwick's daughter-in-law, the mother of the grandson: “My kids are her life,” says Jennifer Warwick, who divorced the boy's father years ago but stayed close to her former mother-in-law, according to the paper.
The paper also details the plan of the break-in and ultimate murder:
At 4 a.m. Monday, Junkermeier and the 16-year-old were at the house. Junkermeier, having been told by the grandson that Lila Warwick checked her mail about 6:30 a.m., waited near the basement steps in the garage and struck her with a “sword-type knife” on the hand, causing her to bleed heavily.
He told her to go to her computer and access her bank account. Seeing the balance, he ordered her to write him a check for $1,500.
He then strangled her, and after seeing she wasn't dead, stabbed her repeatedly, according to the charges.