Attorney for man charged with killing Willmar grandmother wants trial moved

  • Article by: JENNA ROSS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 22, 2014 - 9:30 PM

Robert Warwick, 18, cannot get a fair trial in killing of grandmother, lawyer says.

The attorney for Robert Inocencio Warwick, the 18-year-old charged in his grandmother’s killing, wants to move his trial out of Kandiyohi County, arguing that he cannot receive a fair trial there because of the publicity surrounding the case.

Attorney Daniel Mohs filed a motion Friday seeking a change in venue, saying he’d raise the issue at a Wednesday pretrial hearing in Willmar. He noted that the local newspaper has run more than two dozen articles about the crime — including its coverage of Brok Junkermeier, the 19-year-old who brought his trial to a halt by pleading guilty to first-degree murder.

Warwick faces two first-degree murder charges for his role in the July death of his grandmother Lila Warwick in her rambler on the east edge of Willmar. Prosecutors say Robert Warwick hatched the plan to rob and murder the 79-year-old, and Junkermeier carried it out. Earlier this month, Junkermeier was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Jurors won’t hear some of what Robert Warwick told investigators several days after Lila Warwick’s death.

Kandiyohi County District Judge David Mennis ruled Friday that Robert Warwick’s statements during the third and final interview with investigators cannot be used as evidence at trial because they “were not given voluntarily.”

Officers read Robert Warwick his Miranda warning, including his right to remain silent, when talking with him at his home. They reminded him of his rights after arriving at the law enforcement center. But they did not read or remind Warwick of those rights before the third interview after he had been arrested.

“Given these circumstances, Warwick should have been advised of his constitutional rights before being questioned in the third interview because the situation had drastically changed by his arrest,” Mennis said.

He also noted Warwick was 17 years old at the time and had had “minimal prior contacts with law enforcement officers.” His trial date has not yet been set.

A third teen charged in the case, Devon Jenkins, the 16-year-old who acted as the lookout, was sentenced to probation and community service in January for aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Jenna Ross • 612-673-7168

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