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Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

Plea deal for teen charged in deputy's death not yet viable, attorney says

By Emiley Morgan, Deseret News

Published: Mon, June 2 11:35 a.m. MDT

 Meagan Grunwald appears in a Provo courtroom on April 17, 2014. On Monday, attorneys asked for more time to review evidence in her case. She is charged with aggravated murder and 11 other charges  in the death of Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Cory Wride.

Meagan Grunwald appears in a Provo courtroom on April 17, 2014. On Monday, attorneys asked for more time to review evidence in her case. She is charged with aggravated murder and 11 other charges in the death of Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Cory Wride.

(Rick Egan)

PROVO — Attorneys asked Monday for more time to review evidence in the case against a 17-year-old girl charged with aggravated murder in the death of Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Cory Wride.

It is unclear whether the case against Meagan Grunwald will be settled in a plea agreement or trial, but 4th District Judge Darold McDade said he didn't want to set many more hearings before setting a trial date. Attorneys assured him they would have a direction at Grunwald's next hearing on June 23.

Prosecutor Sam Pead said this is part of the normal process.

"I don't know that any decisions have been made on anything, but we've had open dialogue and will continue to talk about things," he said after the brief hearing. "We'll see where it all turns out."

Grunwald has been charged as an adult and is facing 12 total charges in connection with a Jan. 30 crime spree that left Wride dead and sheriff's deputy Greg Sherwood severely injured. Investigators believe Grunwald's boyfriend, Jose Angel Garcia-Juaregui, 27, fired the weapon while Grunwald acted as the getaway driver.

Her attorney, Dean Zabriskie, has maintained that the teenager was threatened and coerced into participating. He said Monday that he is expecting a trial date to be set for late fall, despite also acknowledging that he has been in talks with the Utah County Attorney's Office about "alternative resolutions in this case."

But he said he does not think a plea deal is a viable alternative at this point.

"I think we're somewhat distant from getting to where those will materialize," Zabriskie said. "Their needs and our needs are still not in focus."

Following a hearing on the evidence against Grunwald, Judge Darold McDade ordered the teenager to stand trial on 12 charges, including aggravated murder, felony discharge of a firearm with serious bodily injury, two counts of attempted aggravated murder, and aggravated robbery, all first-degree felonies.

She is also charged with criminal mischief, a second-degree felony, two counts of felony discharge of a firearm, possession or use of a controlled substance, and failure to respond to an officer's signal to stop, all third-degree felonies; criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor; and violation of operator duties for accident involving property damage, a class B misdemeanor.

Garcia-Juaregui was shot in a shootout with Juab County sheriff's deputies on Jan. 30 and died the next day.

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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1. 2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT,
June 2, 2014

The law doesn't state that only the person who pulled the trigger is guilty. If you helped plan it, or you were part of the group involved in the murder (even passive involvement) or you drive the getaway car, or help them avoid capture... you are part of it and can be found guilty.

If you're with the murderer and helping him carry out the murder... you're part of the murder.

You can say he made you do it.... but you're going to have to show some evidence that you were a hostage, and not a helper.

2. Cinci Man
FT MITCHELL, KY,
June 2, 2014

The burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove that she was a helper, not a hostage. Once that is proven, she has the reverse requirement of proof. It will be interesting to see what the evidence shows.

3. Hamath
Omaha, NE,
June 2, 2014

@ 2bits and Cinci man
Do either of you have proof that your point of view is indeed how the law is? Does the prosecution first have to prove she was not a hostage before they can proceed?