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News Briefs; Willmar murder trial won’t be moved

The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communication Company newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota (unless otherwisse noted).

By Forum News Service


Willmar murder trial won’t be moved

WILLMAR, Minn. -- A judge has denied a defense request to move the trial for a teen accused of murdering his grandmother.

District Judge David Mennis ruled Thursday that Robert “Robbie” Warwick’s attorney had not shown a reasonable likelihood that a fair trial could not be had in Kandiyohi County.

Warwick, 18, of Willmar, is scheduled to stand trial on first-degree murder charges starting on July 21 for the July 2013 killing of his grandmother, Lila Warwick, 79, of Willmar.

His attorney, Daniel Mohs, sought the change of venue because of significant pretrial publicity in the case.

Robbie Warwick was one of three people charged in the case. Warwick’s co-defendant, Brok Junkermeier, 19, was sentenced April 9 to life in prison without parole. Junkermeier changed his plea to guilty to first-degree premeditated murder on the 10th day of his jury trial in Kandiyohi County District Court. During his plea hearing, Junkermeier admitted that he stabbed and strangled Lila Warwick.

The third defendant in the case, Devon Jenkins, 16, of Willmar, pleaded guilty in December to aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Man convicted of murder in 2011 dies in prison

ST. PAUL — Delbert Huber, the rural Paynesville man sentenced to more than 30 years in prison for shooting and killing a man in a feud between neighbors in October 2011, has died.

A spokeswoman from the state Department of Corrections said Huber died Wednesday night. Foul play was not suspected.

Huber, 83, was sentenced in September 2012 to 367 months in prison, the maximum sentence allowed on a second-degree murder charge.

Huber and his son, Timothy Huber, 48, were both indicted on murder charges for killing Timothy Larson, 43, of Albertville. Delbert Huber shot and killed Larson after a confrontation on the Norman Larson property in rural Belgrade. Norman is Timothy Larson’s father.

Timothy Huber was sentenced to 25 years in prison in July 2013. He was found guilty of second-degree murder in a jury trial in May 2013. According to the Department of Corrections website, he is in custody at the Rush City prison and his expected release date is in October 2028.

Letter, powder sent to governor’s mansion not a threat

ST. PAUL -- State health and public safety officials said Thursday the letter and white powder sent to the governor’s mansion June 2 were not a threat.

The content of the letter, which wasn’t disclosed, was not threatening, Minnesota Department of Public Safety spokesman Bruce Gordon said Thursday.

The day the letter was sent, the state Department of Health found no biological threat agents or toxins. Furthering testing showed the powder was a benign substance, said Doug Schultz, a Department of Health spokesman.

Schultz said the sample size of the powder was too small to determine what it was.

Staff at Gov. Mark Dayton’s residence on Summit Avenue in St. Paul opened the letter June 2 in a building behind the governor’s residence.

Schultz said the health department handles between one and two dozens similar cases per year.

Credit: St. Paul Pioneer Press


Two accused of trafficking teen

FARGO – Two people are in custody here, accused of sex trafficking a minor for allegedly prostituting a 13-year-old girl in a south Moorhead hotel.

Prince Antonio Dequante Jones, 24, of Fargo, and Eyeesha Nicole Hinto, 24, of Minneapolis, were arrested this morning, just 12 hours after a Moorhead, Minn., detective spotted a suspicious ad for a Fargo escort on, according to criminal complaints filed in Clay County District Court on Thursday afternoon.

Detective Ryan Nelson contacted a phone number given in the ad and ended up meeting the 13-year-old victim at a Moorhead motel, according to the police report filed with the complaint.

The victim was listed as a runaway out of Brooklyn Center, Minn., Moorhead Police Chief David Ebinger said in a press conference Thursday.

Interviews led detectives to finding the two suspects in a hotel in Fargo, the chief said.

Fargo Police arrested the two and they were in Cass County Jail as of Thursday afternoon. The victim has been reunited with her family, Ebinger said.

Each suspect faces two counts of sex trafficking in the first-degree.

North Dakota

Red Cross says up to 10,000 expected for Obama visit; agency to provide first aid

BISMARCK – The American Red Cross plans to provide a first aid and hydration station during Friday’s visit by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama that’s expected to draw as many as 10,000 people to Cannon Ball, N.D., on the Standing Rock Reservation.

The presidential visit coincides with Cannon Ball’s annual powwow known as the Flag Day Celebration Wacipi, and Standing Rock Sioux tribal authorities requested Red Cross assistance, the relief organization stated in a news release Thursday.

The Red Cross team will consist of medically qualified volunteers from Bismarck and Rapid City, S.D., who will provide basic first aid services and water, the release stated. The station will be in Cannon Ball and will be open from Friday morning through the duration of the president’s visit.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was the first tribal nation to sign a memorandum of understanding with the American Red Cross, “and we are honored to partner with them in supporting President Obama’s visit,” the release stated, noting Obama is also the honorary chairman of the not-for-profit organization.

Hantavirus kills person in central North Dakota

BISMARCK -- A central North Dakota resident died “recently” due to complications from Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, according to the state Department of Health.

The rare disease is spread by infected rodent droppings, saliva and urine — not from human-to-human interaction.

Hantavirus was last reported in North Dakota in 2009. Including this recent case, only 12 cases of the disease have been reported to the state Department of Health since 1993, when the virus was first recognized nationally.

Nationally, through April 21, 2014, 639 cases of Hantavirus have been reported in 34 states, mainly in rural areas. The virus has been fatal in 36 percent of the cases, according to the Department of Health.

Symptoms of the Hantavirus can include dry cough, general ill feeling, headache, nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath, according to the National Institutes of Health. Lung failure, heart failure and kidney failure can also occur.

Those who have had exposure to wild rodents and experience these symptoms should contact a physician immediately. The Department of Health reminds people to properly ventilate closed-off, dry areas and dispose of rodent droppings with gloves.