Brok Junkermeier, the 19-year-old who pleaded guilty to killing his friend's grandmother, was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole, according to media reports.
In a surprise move last week, Junkermeier pleaded guilty to first-degree premeditated murder in last summer's death of 79-year-old Lila Warwick, of Willmar. The teenager said in court he was guilty, and entered his guilty plea so the family wouldn't have to hear more evidence.
Lila Warwick's daughter, Cheri Ekbom, read a victim impact statement during Wednesday's court proceedings and Junkermeier made a moving statement, the Star Tribune reports. The courtroom was "filled with tears" when the judge sentenced Junkermeier, KARE 11 reports.
"I am so sorry," Junkermeier said, wiping away tears, the Star Tribune reported. "If I could trade my life for hers, I would." He said he was praying the family would forgive him.
Junkermeier's plea last week even caught his own defense attorney off guard.
Junkermeier had previously pleaded not guilty to two charges: first-degree, premeditated murder and first-degree murder while attempting to commit burglary. In his surprise move last week, he pleaded guilty to the former.
Junkermeier's plea came one day after a jury watched a lengthy taped interview with the teenager, in which he described in detail how he killed Warwick, KSTP reports. The interview was given to police shortly after Junkermeier was arrested last August. He agreed to speak after being read his rights, the station says.
In the interview, KSTP says Junkermeier describes how he surprised Warwick in her Willmar garage on the morning of July 29, cut her, and made her write out a check for $1,500. He then choked Warwick until she fell unconscious, then stabbed her in the chest and abdomen.
Warwick is the grandmother of Robert Warwick, who's been accused of being the mastermind behind the murder plot. His trial has not yet been scheduled.
Another teenager, 16-year-old Devon Jenkins, was accused of waiting in the car while Junkermeier killed Lila Warwick. Jenkins pleaded guilty to unintentional second-degree murder in juvenile court, and was sentenced shortly after.