Dateline Minnesota briefs: Willmar trial will not change venues

  • Updated: June 14, 2014 - 6:07 PM

Willmar

Warwick’s trial to stay put

A judge has denied a request to move the trial of Robert I. Warwick, who faces first-degree murder charges for allegedly planning his grandmother’s killing.

Warwick’s attorney, Daniel Mohs, had argued that the 18-year-old could not receive a fair trial in Kandiyohi County because of publicity surrounding the case. Mohs submitted 51 local news articles, many of which referenced Warwick as the alleged “mastermind” behind the crime.

But in his nine-page order denying the motion, District Judge David Mennis said the news articles attributed statements to court documents or “used cautionary words like ‘allegedly.’ ” He also said that the court will use “several strategies” to mitigate the possible effect of pretrial publicity, including juror questionnaires.

Warwick faces two first-degree murder charges for his role in the July death of his grandmother Lila Warwick in her rambler. Prosecutors say Robert Warwick hatched the plan to rob and murder the 79-year-old, and his friend Brok Junkermeier, 19, carried it out.

In April, Junkermeier pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Warwick’s trial is set to begin July 21.

JENNA ROSS • @ByJenna

Itasca, Lake, Cook counties

DNR seeks volunteers for loon count starting June 27

The state DNR is looking for volunteers in three northern Minnesota counties to help monitor the loon population between June 27 and July 7.

Volunteers can choose one of dozens of lakes in Itasca, Lake and Cook counties to count adult and juvenile loons between 5 a.m. and noon on a single day. Counting can be done from shore on smaller lakes or by watercraft on larger lakes. The DNR will provide instructions, training materials, maps and counting forms. It will take two to four hours per lake.

DNR officials ask that volunteers commit to complete one or more lakes and consider volunteering for multiple years. To volunteer, call 218-327-4267 or e-mail gaea.crozier@state.mn.us.

pam louwagie • @pamlouwagie

ST. CLOUD

Fundraising nearly halfway completed for pool, center

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