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Junkermeier had previously pleaded not guilty to the two charges he faced — first-degree, premeditated murder and first-degree murder in the course of a burglary. Marshall had planned to argue that the second charge, which offered the possibility of parole, was a better fit.
In a courtroom cleared of jurors Wednesday, Marshall and Judge Donald Spilseth questioned Junkermeier, asking whether he understood his right to a trial, his ability to present witnesses and the coming punishment. Junkermeier said that he understood, often answering, “Yes, sir.”
Marshall noted in his questioning that a psychologist who evaluated Junkermeier months ago “found a number of mental disorders,” including autism, Aspergers syndrome and anti-social behaviors.
Picked on and bullied in grade school, “this was the first time in Brok’s life where people were paying attention to him,” Marshall said later. “I think that he was, to some degree or other, playing the big shot.”
Before Junkermeier left the courtroom, Marshall grasped the tall young man’s arms.
“Brok, you’ve done a horrible thing but that doesn’t mean that you’re a horrible person,” Marshall recounted saying. “There are good parts to you, and I hope you find a way to use those good parts once you get to where you’re going.”
Jenna Ross • 612-673-7168