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Girl charged with murder in Utah County deputy’s shooting

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Posted at 2:08 PM, Feb 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-18 23:46:04-05

PROVO -- Utah County prosecutors have thrown the book at a 17-year-old Draper girl they say assisted in a crime spree Jan. 30 that killed a Utah County sergeant and wounded another deputy.

Meagan Dakota Grunwald faces 17 charges, mostly felonies, including aggravated murder, attempted murder and obstruction of justice.  Prosecutors say she drove her boyfriend as he opened fire on police.

Prosecutors say the girl wasn't held against her will, she was an accessory to the crimes.

According to an affidavit, witnesses say Grunwald is expecting Jose Angel Garcia-Juaregui's child.  Once she turned 18 in August, she planned to marry him and move to Mexico.

They lived with her parents in their home in Draper. Her father didn't approve and a neighbor, who didn't want to be identified, says they argued constantly about it.

"Jerry had a big meltdown and threw him out of the house," said the neighbor.

She says she saw Grunwald the day of the shooting spree.

"She just got in the truck and drove away very fast west," the neighbor said.

The neighbor said Grunwald seemed agitated.

Charging documents say Grunwald had methamphetamine in her system when she and Garcia-Juaregui encountered Sgt. Cory Wride during a traffic stop in Eagle Mountain. Wride was checking Grunwald's ID, plus false information Garcia-Juaregui provided when according to charging documents, "through observing Sgt. Wride's dash cam video, Grunwald places the vehicle in drive and leaves her foot on the brake ... Approximately 4 minutes after ... Garcia-Juaregui quickly opens the back sliding glass window of the Tundra and fires seven shots into Sgt. Wride's vehicle. After the first 2 shots, Grunwald accelerates quickly and leaves the scene."

Grunwald never pulled the trigger, prosecutors say, but gave chase as seen in recently released dashcam video. The chase ended in Juab County, where deputies shot Garcia-Juaregui after police say he opened fire on police.

According to the charging document, as the teenager surrendered, Grunwald yelled at police, "you f---ing shot him!" and Garcia-Juaregui stated,

"You’re not going to let me kiss my girl with my last dying breath?”

Defense Attorney Greg Skordas analyzed Tuesday's charges against the teen.

"In Utah, a murder is enhanced to an aggravated murder if the victim is a peace officer acting as a police officer," Skordas said. "That certainly raised the ante for her that certainly made the charges more severe, and certainly more easily caused the state to make the decision to charge her as an adult."

Neither Grunwald’s family nor her lawyer has made statements to Fox 13. The Utah County and Juab County attorneys are scheduled to speak at a press conference in Utah County Wednesday at 10 a.m. Grunwald's first court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 24.

Click here to download the charging document. [PDF, 1.57 MB]

Details on FOX 13 News and fox13now.com as they become available...