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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Life in prison for Minn. teen who killed elderly woman

  • A 19-year-old man tearfully apologized Wednesday as he was sentenced to life in prison without parole for robbing and killing his friend's grandmother in western Minnesota last summer.
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  • A 19-year-old man tearfully apologized Wednesday as he was sentenced to life in prison without parole for robbing and killing his friend's grandmother in western Minnesota last summer.
    "I am so sorry," Brok Junkermeier said in Kandiyohi County District Court, after taking off his glasses to wipe away tears. "If I could trade my life for hers, I would."
    Junkermeier entered a surprise guilty plea in the midst of his trial last week. He took the stand at that time and admitted that he and the victim's grandson, Robert Warwick, now 18, plotted to rob and kill 79-year-old church volunteer Lila Warwick at her home near Willmar.
    Members of two families — Warwick's and his own — quietly cried Wednesday as Junkermeier apologized, the Star Tribune reported.
    "I pray for their forgiveness," Junkermeier said, referring to the families. "I'm learning to accept my punishment."
    The victim's daughter, Cheri Ekbom, and two granddaughters spoke at Junkermeier's sentencing Wednesday.
    Katie Ekbom, 22, said that at first, she was furious about the way her grandmother had died.
    "But then it hit me," she said. "Is this how my grandma would want me to live?"
    In her statement, Cheri Ekbom said she has had "a compass" to guide her since her mother's death eight months ago.
    "Quite simply, it's been a compass to honor her. Despite every graphic and appalling word I've heard and witnessed, I do not hate. Returning hatred for hatred and evil for evil: She would not, nor will I. In this, I will honor her," she said.
    One morning in late July, Junkermeier sneaked into Lila Warwick's garage with a long dagger, cutting her hands before forcing her to write him a check for $1,500. He detailed how he stabbed and strangled her in an interview with investigators two days after her body was found on the basement floor.
    Robert Warwick's trial has not been scheduled. A third teen has pleaded guilty for acting as a lookout.

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