The widow of a Utah County Sheriff's sergeant who was murdered in the line of duty is livid after a decision by the Utah Supreme Court reversed an aggravated murder conviction in the case.
“I completely don’t understand. I am furious. I am disappointed in the state of Utah. We are better than this,” said Nannette Wride-Zeeman, the widow of Sgt. Cory Wride. “I felt like something grabbed a hold of my ankles and pulled me back six years.”
Meagan Grunwald was convicted for her role in the January 2014 killing of Sgt. Wride. Her then-boyfriend, Jose Angel Garcia Juaregui, shot and killed Wride. Grunwald drove the getaway vehicle and led police on a chase. Juaregui was killed in a shootout with police. Grunwald was arrested.
In a 4-1 decision in favor of throwing out the verdict, the Utah Supreme Court found three errors in the jury instructions that “caused a reasonable probability of an unfair conviction.”
The ruling opens up wounds carried by Sgt. Wride’s friends and family.
“This is a disgrace. It not only puts police officers in a worse position, it’s basically the Supreme Court saying it's OK to kill a cop,” Wride-Zeeman said. “The Utah Supreme Court has set a precedent for cop killers. That’s scary.”
The lone dissenter was Associate Chief Justice Thomas Lee.
“I find it nearly impossible to look at Grunwald’s actions and conclude that her involvement was anything but knowing and intentional," Lee argued.
The Utah County Attorney’s office will now decide if it will proceed with another trial.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson said the office will review the Supreme Court’s ruling. A decision could come as early as next week.
Wride-Zeeman is ready to sit through another trial. She believes getting justice is a must for law enforcement and their families.
“I don’t care if we try this a million times, she will always be found guilty,” Wride-Zeeman said. “She has to pay the price for her choices. There’s got to be consequences. She is just going to play this game probably until I’m 100.”