Grunwald sentenced to 30 years in death of Utah Co. deputy

Posted at 3:08 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 11:11:06-04

PROVO, Utah — Meagan Grunwald was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison for her role in the 2014 murder of a Utah County Sheriff's Office deputy.

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Last month, Grunwald, who originally faced life in prison, took a plea deal to reduced charges of second-degree felony charges of manslaughter and assault on a police officer. The deal allowed Utah County prosecutors to avoid a new trial after her first conviction was overturned due to jury instruction errors.

Judge Darold McDade said he was imposing the maximum sentence for both manslaughter charges, which will run consecutively at 15 years each. Grunwald will also serve time for aggravated robbery.

Grunwald was with her boyfriend, Jose Angel Garcia Juaregui, when he shot and killed Sgt. Cory Wride as he approached their pickup truck on a Lehi road. She drove away, leading a multi-county chase that ended with the death of Juaregui.

Before the sentence was read, Grunwald's attorney said his client had expressed remorse over her actions on the night of Wride's death, and that the deputy's own family had accepted her apologies. However, Wride's widow disputed that account when speaking to the judge.

"While we have extended the hand of forgiveness, we have not forgotten," said Wride's widow, Nannette.

Wride's 21-year-old daughter, KylieAnne, read an emotion-filled statement saying how she grieves the loss of her father over and over again due to Grunwald. She added that Grunwald has not done enough to be given a short sentence.

At trial, Grunwald, who was 17 at the time, said Juaregui forced her to drive and lead the chase.

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Prosecutors, though, argued she wanted to help him. She was convicted of murder under Utah accomplice law.

But the state’s top court later found that different jury instructions might have led to a different outcome.

In a new statement that accompanied her plea agreement earlier this month, Grunwald acknowledged she was “reckless as to whether my aid would result in the death of Sgt. Wride.”

Grunwald will have 30 days to appeal her sentence.