Meagan Grunwald: ‘I thought it was a nightmare and I can’t wake up.’

Meagan Grunwald_5248922980654337988
PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) -A tearful Meagan Grunwald took the stand in her defense Wednesday.

Grunwald is on trial for helping in the murder of Sgt. Cory Wride and Deputy Greg Sherwood in 2014. She was with the suspected shooter Jose Angel Garcia Jauregui, the suspected shooter. He was killed by officers following a two county police chase.

Grunwald was sworn in and as soon as she took the stand she became emotional.

“Do you need more time,” asked her attorney Dean Zabriskie.

She said no but there was a lengthy pause before she began testifying.

Zabriskie began by asking her questions about her life. She spoke softly, her voice seemed very innocent.

“I was 16 years old when I met Angel,” she said.

She also gave jurors an outline of her history. She attended Riverton High School and was entering her senior year. She was the only child of parents who lived in Draper.

She appeared to be very knowledgeable about her activities involving FFA & 4H, extracurricular activities associated with agriculture. She raised pigs as part of her project.
“They are really stubborn,” she said.

But she admitted it bothered her when they were taking to the slaughtering plant.

Grunwald appeared to be smart in school. She showed jurors a certificate for her 4.0 GPA at Riverton High School.

She also said about getting part time jobs for spending money. Her parents were living on disability checks because of brain injuries they suffered.

Grunwald said she first met Jauregui at an LDS ward. She had come to see if a family friend could help her with her homework. Jauregui was there and volunteered to help her. And from their the relationship between them grew.

“He was very nice to me,” Grunwald testified and admitted she knew very little about him.

She thought he was 23. She was 16 years old at the time. The age difference bothered her ” a little.”
She later learned he was 27 years old and on parole but never asked why.

“All of a sudden he stayed at our home,” she testified.

By then Angel was constantly helping her with homework. She said he was paying $100 a month in rent to her dad.
“I started having feelings for him,” she said.

That was in November about two months after Angel moved in.

Grunwald testified that their relationship was turning into a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship.
“I did care for him,” she testified.

And when the defense asked her if she loved him she had this response.

“I did,” she said.

She said Angel moved into her bedroom and she moved into her mother’s bedroom. But in November there was a confrontation between her dad and Angel. Grunwald testified that her dad told her to “get out of the house.”

It was because of their relationship. Grunwald testified that he was becoming “closer in her life.” She even quit three of her part time jobs because of Angel. She testified that Angel wanted her to study and focus on school and he would provide money for her.

They were becoming sexually active. They would sneak around and she denied having sexual relations with Angel to her parents.
When asked if she was worried about becoming pregnant she said “yes.”

She testified that Angel left home after the fallout with her dad but returned for Christmas.
She was also given a promise ring from Angel.

“I was thrilled,” she said.

But she didn’t consider it a sign of future marriage.

Grunwald said she never tried meth before meeting Angel.

“It made me feel ill” she said after using the drug.

She denied using meth Jan. 30th, 2014 the day of the shoot out with police. But she did admit to using it the day before.

That day when Sgt. Wride was shot and killed Grunwald said they left her home because Angel wanted to talk with her. She told her family that she was going to meet with friends. They ended up in Utah County near Eagle Mountain. Grunwald testified that Angel was upset over a warrant that was issued for his arrest. She claimed she wanted him to get it settled with his parole officer. But he refused to do that. She also said he was upset because her uncle wanted them to break up.

They had pulled over the sid eof the road and were talking. She said that’s when Sgt. Wride pulled up behind them.

“He (Wride) asked me if I was all right,” she said.

Grunwald said she had been crying and Sgt. Wride became concerned. Wride asked her for identification and he returned to his car. When he returned he again asked her if she was okay. She said she was.

“He then turned his attention to Angel,” Grunwald testified.

Wright asked him for identification and he Grunwald gave him a different name but didn’t know his date of birth. Grunwald said wright returned to his truck with Angel’s identification. She testified that Angel pulled out a gun and was becoming upset.

“If you don’t do what I tell you I will kill you and your f****** family,” Grunwald claimed Angel made that statement to her.

She said he looked “like the devil.”

“I am going to buck him in the f****** head,” Angel allegedly told Grunwald.

That’s when Grunwald said he fired his gun through the back sliding window.

“Go, go, go,” Grunwald testified that Angel was shouting that at her.

So she took off. The headed south on Redwood Road. Grunwald testified she didn’t know what had happened to Wride. Angel claimed he just disabled the truck.

While driving near Utah Lake Grunwald testified that she wanted out of the pickup truck.

“let me out of the truck, you can keep the truck just let me out,” Grunwald claimed she told that to Angel.

But Anbgel refused.

“You just f****** drive,” he allegedly told her. “I thought it was a nightmare and I can’t wake up.”

When spotted by Deputy Greg Sherwood near Santaquin, Grunwald testified she slowed down quickly because there was a car in front of her. Sherwood’s dashcam recording showed an abrupt stop in the middle of the road. Grunwald was driving. She said that’s when Angel shot him.

Again she claimed she wanted out of the truck but she said Angel had gun pointing at her head and reminding her he’d kill her family. She continued driving.

“The thought entered my mind that it (Sherwood) might have been fatal,” she testified.

Moments before a woman and her baby were carjacked, the dash cam video showed Angel running from their disabled truck. Grunwald was a few yards behind her. She testified that Angel had again threatened her to “follow me.”

And when they approached the vehicle of the woman, Grunwald claimed Angel got into the SUV first. She testified that she felt like she had no choice saying: “I was scared for my dear life.”

During the police chase, Angel allegedly told her that “I will get you out of this mess.”

But she testified: ” I was hoping he would leave me behind.

When they crashed into another vehicle in Juab County Jauregui ran from their stolen vehicle and Grunwald chased after him.

“I was trying to save my family,” she testified.

She also claimed she thought she was going to be shot by officers.

“I thought I was going to die,” she said.

She saw Jauregui go down and saw a red spot on his head. She claimed Jauregui had told her earlier that he was going to save the last bullet for himself. She thought he had killed himself. But later realized that police had shot him.

She said she didn’t remember telling police “Why did you shoot him? Why did you f****** shoot him?” as prosecutors claimed.

She did testify that she told police “If I didn’t go with him he was going to kill my family.”

And when asked if she wanted Angel dead she said “I didn’t want anybody dead.”

She will return to the stand Thursday.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Utah Coronavirus

More Coronavirus Updates


More In Focus

Justice Files

More Justice Files