Meagan Grunwald was seventeen years old when she took part in a crime spree that would leave one police officer dead and another injured. According to court documents Meagan Grunwald was driving a car with her boyfriend Angel Garcia-Juaregui. Her boyfriend would start shooting at a police car who was trying to pull them over. One of the police officers would be struck in the head and the other officer was fatally injured. Angel Garcia-Juaregui would later die in a shootout with police.
This teen killer tried to say she did not realize that the officers were shot however this was proven to be false in court. Meagan Grunwald would be sentenced to thirty years to life in prison
Meagan Grunwald 2023 Information
- Offender Number: 223233
- Offender Name: MEAGAN DAKOTA GRUNWALD
- DOB: Mon, 5 Aug 1996
- Height: 5 Feet 6 Inches
- Weight: 160
- Sex: F
- Location: UTAH STATE PRISON
- Housing Facility: TIMPANOGOS
- Parole Date: N/A
- MEAGAN DAKOTA GRUNWALD
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A young woman convicted in a 50-mile crime spree that left one Utah sheriff’s deputy dead and another wounded was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
State Judge Darold McDade handed down 18-year-old Meagan Grunwald’s term following emotional testimony about the January 2014 chase from the injured lawman.
Utah County Sheriff’s Deputy Greg Sherwood told the judge that after he was shot in the head and fighting for his life in his police cruiser, Grunwald drove past him without stopping to help.
“She could have ran towards me, and I would have protected her with all my energy,” he said. “Instead, she made the choice to run.”
Grunwald cried during the hearing as she read quickly from a brief written statement.
“It’s hard for me to ask for forgiveness when I have a hard time forgiving myself,” she said.
Meagan Grunwald will get credit for the year and half she already has served behind bars in jail. At the earliest, she could be released in 2044, when she’s 47 years old.
Prosecutors said Meagan Grunwald was a willing accomplice ready to do anything to stay with her 27-year-old boyfriend, including driving a speeding getaway car in the three-county chase.
During her trial, the teenager tearfully told a jury she was afraid to stop driving when the man she loved turned the gun on her and threatened to kill her family.
The boyfriend, Jose Angel Garcia-Jauregui, was killed in a shootout with police.
Meagan Grunwald was convicted in May of 11 counts, including aggravated murder, attempted murder, aggravated robbery and use of a controlled substance. She was found not guilty on one count of attempted aggravated murder.
The maximum penalty Meagan Grunwald could have faced was life in prison without parole. She was ineligible for the death penalty because she was 17 when it happened.
She was charged and convicted under Utah laws that allow an accomplice to be considered equally responsible for a crime.
Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cory Wride, 44, was killed during the crime spree.
Wride’s widow, Nannette, said his family wanted Grunwald to have a chance at parole because she’s young and might make something of herself.
“I’m going to be rooting for her to be someone better,” Nannette Wride told reporters.
Before Grunwald was sentenced, Wride addressed the crying teenager in court.
“You are forgiven, and I hope, sweet girl, that one day you can forgive yourself,” Wride said as Meagan Grunwald put her head down and sobbed.
The shootout and chase came after Cory Wride happened upon the couple’s pickup on the side of a road. Garcia-Jauregui had a warrant out for his arrest and gave the deputy a fake name. When Wride grew suspicious, Garcia-Jauregui stuck a gun out the truck’s rear window and shot the deputy as he sat in his police cruiser.
Grunwald’s lawyer said she was a scared girl who trusted an older, manipulative man. Attorney Dean Zabriskie said as the couple fled from police through three central Utah counties, Grunwald was driving with a gun to her head.
Zabriskie said Wednesday that Meagan Grunwald survived her time in the truck because Wride stopped to help her, and she considers him her savior.
“Now she wishes she would have done something,” he said. “She wishes she would have done something, even at the risk of her life.”
Zabriskie said Grunwald plans to appeal her conviction.
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Meagan Grunwald is currently incarcerated at the Utah State Prison
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Meagan Grunwald is currently going through a resentencing process in which she must serve 30 years before she is eligible for release which would be 2044.
Meagan Grunwald Appeal
The Utah Supreme Court has overturned the murder conviction of Meagan Grunwald.
Grunwald was the getaway driver for her boyfriend, who shot and killed Utah County Sheriff Sgt. Cory Wride in 2014. Grunwald was originally found equally liable for Wride’s death.
Utah’s High Court ruled that there was a reasonable probability a jury would not have convicted the now 23-year-old if it weren’t for errors in jury instructions during her trial.
Wride’s widow, Nannette Wride, was extremely emotional when she heard the news of the reversal on Friday.
“I stand in utter shock and numbness, because I don’t understand,” she said. “I am ashamed of the state we live in. Cory pulled up behind someone with their hazards on that snowy day. He was there to help them, and he was shot to death. To have the conviction overturned is like losing six years of healing. It’s incredibly painful.”
Meagan Grunwald remained in prison, where she has been since July 2015, on a remaining conviction of aggravated robbery tied to the car chase, which also wounded Utah County Sheriff’s deputy Greg Sherwood.
The first-degree felony charge carries a sentence of at least five years and up to life.
Brent Jex, president of the Utah Fraternal Order of Police, spoke for the nearly 4,000 members of the police union, advocating for a retrial and final justice for Sgt. Wride.
“The facts are there. The elements are there. The need for justice is there,” Jex said. “The decision to retry could be made today, even within the hour by Utah County Attorney David Leavitt.”
Members of the order were waiting to see what action the Utah County prosecutor will take, if any.
“This affects our community, the ways we function, and the safety we feel here,” said Shante Johnson, communications director for the Utah Fraternal Order of Police. “Meagan Grunwald 100% was not a victim. She participated wholly in what happened that tragic day.”
Grunwald’s attorneys took the argument to the Utah Court of Appeals in 2018, where they failed to overturn the conviction. However, the Utah Supreme Court ruled in favor of the faulty jury instruction, reversing the capital murder conviction.
“For that technicality to be a single word is rare,” Jex said. “Whether the law enforcement community can feel confidence that the Utah County prosecutor will do the right thing… we are about to find out, and the effect will be significant.”
The Utah Fraternal Order of Police released a statement on the overturned conviction on Friday:
“Our hearts are heavy with the news that the Wride family, their friends, the community, and every man and woman serving in law enforcement will be forced to re-live the trauma that Meagan Grunwald inflicted upon them with her callous and murderous actions.
“Today, the Utah Supreme Court ordered a retrial based on technicality – that the original judge issued slightly faulty instructions to the jury. We are all called upon to make difficult judgements, and will not turn our anger upon the justices. However, let there be no doubt – on that day, Ms. Grunwald actively participated in the murder of Sergeant Cory Wride, and she should pay for her actions by spending the rest of her life in prison.
“We are confident that the horror of that day will once again be taken up by the brave, extraordinarily dedicated prosecutors of the Utah County Attorney’s Office under the leadership of Utah County Attorney David Leavitt. On behalf of our nearly 4,000 members, we stand by to support those efforts and see final justice for Sergeant Wride – with the life imprisonment of his murderer. Let the people of Utah County be called once again to hear the horrific details of Ms. Grunwald’s actions, and let them once again order her removed from society for the rest of her days. There are no jury instructions that will save her.
“We leave you with Ms. Grunwald’s words to officers at the end of the chase she led them on that day, which included shooting a second officer in the face. As she discovered her lover laying in the road, she did not ask police for help, nor was she distressed that officers had been shot and killed. Instead, she saved her concern for her boyfriend: ‘You f—— a——-, you didn’t have to shoot him. You f—— shot him. Oh my god, you f—— shot him.’”
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After more than 11 hours of deliberation, the jury found Meagan Grunwald guilty of 11 of the 12 charges against her, including aggravated murder.
As the jurors sat to listen to the clerk read the verdicts, many looked noticeably upset, not just fatigued.
Grunwald, 18, was convicted of being an accomplice to murder in the shooting death of Sgt. Cory Wride of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. Jose Angel Garcia-Juaregui, her ex-boyfriend, was shot and killed Jan. 30, 2014 in Juab County after an hours-long crime spree that left Wride dead, Deputy Greg Sherwood seriously injured and countless others traumatized.
“No one wins in these kinds of situations,” said Blake Wride, father of Cory Wride. “Do we feel happy? No. Did it bring Cory back? No. But like I said earlier today, when people make choices, there’s consequences.”
Sherwood was in court every day of the trial, and after hearing the verdict, he said, “It shows that if you make bad choices and you hang out with the wrong people, there are going to be consequences for it.
“It’s a sad situation, it’s not the great end for anybody, but my family and I and the Wrides are grateful to have this in the past and move on.”
After the verdict was read, Grunwald’s family broke down into hysterics and tears. Her mother shouted, “I love you, baby” as the teen was led out of the courtroom. As the verdict was read on her dozen charges, she cursed the judge, jury and even the Wride family, and her family had to help her out of the courtroom.
Beyond the charge of aggravated murder for the death of Wride, Grunwald was found guilty of aggravated attempted murder and the discharge of a firearm in the shooting of Sherwood.
She was found not guilty of attempted aggravated murder of trooper Jeff Blankenagel.
She also was found guilty on two charges of discharging a firearm, two charges of criminal mischief, a charge of accident involving property damage, failure to stop, aggravated robbery and a charge of possession of methamphetamine.
Deliberations began Friday afternoon after prosecutors said Meagan Grunwald’s tearful testimony — that her boyfriend pointed a gun at her and threatened her family, forcing her to drive the car during the fatal crime spree — rang hollow.
The jury returned a verdict at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday. An appeal of the verdict is likely, according to Grunwald’s attorney, Dean Zabriskie.
“We’re very, very disappointed and of course, she’s devastated,” he said. Grunwald tried to maintain composure as the guilty verdicts were read, but by the time Judge Darold McDade was discussing a sentencing date with her attorneys, she was in tears.
“Do we agree with it? Of course not.” Zabriskie said. “Do we accept it? Yes, we do.”
Nanette Wride, Cory Wride’s widow, was not in the courtroom to hear the verdict. She is in Washington D.C. already for a special ceremony in which her late husband’s name will be added to the Fallen Officers Memorial.
Sentencing will be on July 8. Grunwald faces a life prison term.