Willmar Teen Pleads Guilty in Grandmother's Death

Updated: 07/02/2014 6:21 PM
Created: 07/02/2014 11:14 AM
By: Brandi Powell

A Willmar teenager is going to prison for three decades for the murder of his 79-year-old grandmother, Lila Warwick.

Eighteen-year-old Robert Warwick sobbed in court as family members told him about the pain he's caused.

Robert, or "Robbie" as the family calls him, said in court Wednesday he was not there when his grandma was murdered, but, admitted to planning the armed burglary for a month.

With the 18-year-old's guilty plea, he's essentially saying he knew there was a "reasonable possibility" that his co-conspirator could have killed his grandma.

"It's just a sad, sad day," said Daniel Mohs, Warwick's attorney. "I think Lila Warwick's daughter and granddaughter couldn't have expressed everybody's feelings better than they did."

In a final court hearing, Robert Warwick's aunt, Cheri Ekbom said aloud during a victim statement, "Not all guilty pleas are as they appear. I'm angry at my nephew and his attorney. My nephew has only agreed that it was reasonably foreseeable that she could have been murdered. He can't own it. Robbie Warwick hasn't admitted to the full nine yards, to the murder and betrayal of his grandma."

About that comment, Mohs said, "Well I can tell you my client has always maintained that there was never a plan to murder his grandmother."

But Warwick's aunt said Wednesday in court, "This horrible crime started and ended with Robbie."

She sternly told Warwick to look at her, and then told him a story:

"When I was going through my mom's things I found a note you wrote to her eight years ago. It said my hero is my grandma. She is nice, and fun to play with. Grandma makes things fair."

With Warwick crying in the courtroom, his aunt then asked him, "Robbie whatever happened to the sweet young boy who thought his grandma was his hero?"

Molly Ekbom, Robert's cousin, asked, "Why her? She gave you everything in the world."

While Warwick never said why, he did awkwardly answer difficult questions in court, by saying yes but while simultaneously shaking his head no.

Mohs said Robert was comfortable pleading guilty. "I think he, from my meeting with him last night he wanted to get this over with and he did not want to go to trial and I think that influence came from his mom too, she did not want to see the family go through anymore anguish,"

After being sentenced to life in prison, Robert said, "Sorry to my mom, my brother, my sister and to all of my family. I wish could take back my actions, but I know I can't. I hope one day everyone forgives me. Sorry to my grandma who's watching over me everyday of my life."

Warwick pleaded guilty to first-degree murder while committing a felony, which was burglary.

A charge of first-degree premeditated murder was dropped in exchange for his plea.

The deal means Warwick will be eligible for parole in 30 years.

Two other teens were also charged in the case.

Nineteen-year-old Brok Junkermeier pleaded guilty in April to murdering Lila Warwick last July. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The youngest teen charged in the case also pleaded guilty for acting as a lookout.

Robert Warwick
Lila Warwick

Minneapolis/St. Paul

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