Trial begins for Meagan Grunwald

PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Meagan Grunwald is either a willing accomplice or a victim. That’s how prosecutors and defense attorneys portrayed her during opening arguments of her trial.

She is on trial for helping with the murder of Sgt. Cory Wride and wounding Utah County sheriff deputy Greg Sherwood. In opening statements, the Juab County attorney who is acting as co-counsel told the 8-person jury “that actions speak louder than words.”

As AnnMarie Howard spoke to the jury, the screen showed pictures of that fatal day, January, 2014 when Jose Angel Garcia and Grunwald were pulled over by Sgt. Wride. Howard said Grunwald was 17-years old at the time of the murder was the driver of the getaway vehicle.

She said there was a warrant out for the arrest of Garcia who was on parole after serving a prison sentence. As Sgt Wride was back in his vehicle running Garcia’s name on his laptop the window on the passenger side went down.

“Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam,” said Howard.

On the screen, Howard showed a picture of Sgt Wride’s vehicle which was riddled with bullets and he was shot.

“When choice was to be made she chose to help the defendant” said Howard.

Instead of calling 911, Grunwald drove the pickup truck and started calling her parents.  Sgt Wride died in his car alongside the road near Saratoga Springs. When there is an attempt to locate the pickup truck. Howard said deputy Sherwood spotted the vehicle and went after them.

“She put the foot on the brake and gets closer to Sherwood’s truck,” said Howard.

Again, shots ring out from the getaway car and into the vehicle of Sherwood.

“She turns around and drives past Sherwood and back onto Interstate-15,” she said.

The couple are eventually surrounded and Garcia runs out of the vehicle that they had recently carjacked.

“He was pointing his gun at them,” Howard said. “And began firing.”

Garcia was shot several times by deputies and Howard said she lashed out at the deputies.

“You shot him in the head, you didn’t have to, you shot him in the head,” said Howard.

Garcia died from the gunshots.

But Grunwald’s attorney, Dean Zabriskie, told jurors “it’s not always as it seems.”

Zabriskie said Grunwald was a juvenile, only 17 years old and not able to give consent. He said Grunwald will testify during the defense’s part of the trial.

“If she said she was compelled, that’s all she has to say,” Zabriskie said. “It’s up to the state to prove otherwise.”

Zabriskie said the coupe was in love and had sexual relations but she was 17 and he was 27 years old.

He said during the shooting, she will testify that Garcia “turned into a devil and she is crying.”

Zabriskie called Garcia “a dark angel.” He portrayed him as a jekyll and hyde saying he would “threaten to kill” her one moment and then tell her he would never hurt her.
He said Grunwald didn’t know the officer was dead.

“What was she supposed to do?” he asked the jury. “He had a gun. He just somebody.”

Zabriskie said Grunwald was afraid for her life. He said she will testify that Garcia threatened her and her family.

“He told me if I didn’t go with him, he will shoot me,” Zabriskie said of what Grunwald will testify to.

Zabriskie said Grunwald was upset with police after Garcia was shot because she thought Garcia was already dead and didn’t need to be shot anymore.

He said there is reasonable doubt about Grunwald’s involvement and should be acquitted.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.


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