The Justice Files: Meagan Grunwald avoids new trial, pleads guilty to lesser charges

Justice Files

PROVO, Utah (ABC4) – It’s over and there will be no new trial for Meagan Grunwald.

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Grunwald is serving a possible life sentence at the Utah state prison for her involvement in a police shooting in 2014.

The shooting claimed the life of Sgt. Cory Wride of the Utah County sheriff’s office. Another deputy, Greg Sherwood, was seriously wounded but survived.

Grunwald was the getaway driver. Her boyfriend, Angel Garcia-Juaregui, was the shooter and died in a gun battle with law enforcement in Juab County.

Grunwald was eventually convicted of multiple charges including murder, attempted murder and aggravated robbery. She was sentenced to a minimum of 30-years and up to life in prison.

But the case was appealed, and last year, the Utah Supreme Court overturned the conviction, stating the judge failed to provide a jury instruction that they could find her guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter. They ordered a new trial.

Last week, the Utah County attorney filed new charges against Grunwald. This time, Grunwald was charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault of a police officer. Previous charges in which Grunwald is currently serving prison time were also included.

On the same day, Grunwald appeared in court through a video link and pleaded guilty to the two new charges. Both were second degree felonies.

Sgt. Wride’s widow, Nannette Wride-Zeeman, said she was aware of the plea negotiations and she and her children agreed to the plea deal.

“It was overwhelming that we wanted to plea bargain with her,” Wride-Zeeman said. “Mostly because we didn’t want to go through another murder trial.”

Wride-Zeeman was present during last weeks arraignment hearing for Grundwald.
She said she closely watched and listened to Grunwald’s admission of guilty.

“She was part of murdering a good police officer and assaulting another police officer who almost lost his life, and his life is not the same and I think she takes that lightly,” Wride-Zeeman said.

In her statement to the court, Grunwald said she “intentionally aided” her boyfriend, was “reckless” in offering help, and after the shootings, “continued to drive … to elude police.”

Wride-Zeeman didn’t get a feeling of remorse coming from Grunwald. But she will accept it.

“My bottom line was I wanted her to say she was guilty and she said it, even though she didn’t mean it,” Wride-Zeeman said.

Grunwald has been in prison since 2015. The new conviction could lessen the time she was to serve in prison. Manslaughter and aggravated assault on a police officer are second degree felonies with a possible sentence of one-to-15 years in prison.

Grunwald will be sentenced June 21.

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