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One of five Alaska teens charged in murder of 16-year-old David Grunwald, dares victim’s family in court

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16-year-old David Grunwald went missing on Nov. 13, and his body was found three weeks later 
He had been brutally pistol-whipped before being loaded into his own truck, driven to the Knik River and shot
Dominic Johnson, Bradley Renfro, Devin Peterson, Austin Barrett, and Erick Almandinger were arraigned in court on Tuesday, to be tried as adults in the murder 
Erick Almandinger, 16, Austin Barrett, 19, Dominic Johnson, 16 and Bradley Renfro, 16, are charged with first- and second-degree murder, kidnapping and hindering prosecution.
Devin Peterson, 18, is charged with hindering prosecution and evidence tampering. 
Bradley Renfro one of the four charged with murder allegedly, taunted the Grunwald family as he walked out of Palmer Superior Court, Tuesday
Renfro made eye contact with the victim’s family as he walked out of Palmer Superior Court
Sneered, ‘What are you gonna do, dad?’


Dominic Johnson, Bradley Renfro and Austin Barrett seemingly unimpressed by the proceedings

One of five Alaska teens accused in the death of a 16-year-old boy appeared to have a tense encounter with the victim’s family in court on Tuesday.
Witnesses say Bradley Renfro made eye contact with the family of David Grunwald as he walked out of Palmer Superior Court, even though relatives of the defendant deny that was the case.
Wasilla native, Bradley Renfro, 16, appeared to address the parents of the dead 16-year-old, according to some in the courtroom.

Partners in crime – Dominic Johnson, Bradley Renfro, Devin Peterson and  Austin Barrett walk out of court on Tuesday. Renfro (second left) can be seen speaking

Renfro cocked his head back as he passed Ben and Edie Grunwald, sitting in front. The interaction was interpreted differently by the families involved.  One account from a Grunwald supporter who was speaking to the Alaska Dispatch News, reports that when the suspect cocked his head “He said, ‘What are you gonna do?’ ”
Private investigator Luke Smith, who was sitting behind his clients, the Grunwalds,told the paper: “And then he paused and looked at them again and said, ‘Do something.'”

david-grunwald-1David Grunwald was pistol whipped and shot on Nov. 13,by a gang of five Wassila teens. His body was found three weeks later.

“I was shaking when I left the courtroom I was so mad,” Smith told the newspaper.
However, Renfro’s own father was also sitting behind the Grunwalds.
The Dispatch News reported that  Russell Renfro said his son was speaking to him.
“He said, ‘What you gonna do, dad?'” Russell Renfro said.

5-suspects-in-david-grunwald-murder1Gang of teen killers: (l. to r.) Dominic Johnson, Bradley Renfro, Devin Peterson, Austin Barrett and Erick Almandinger walk out of court after their arraignment hearing, Tuesday

It appeared to some that Bradley Renfro may have been cocking his head, but his mother Brittney Smith, speaking to Dispatch News after court said he made the move only because his hair was impairing his vision.
“He has no disrespect for the Grunwalds, I swear to God,” Brittney Smith told the paper. “I want justice for David as well. I’m just sorry for everybody involved. But he definitely did not say that to them.”
Smith added that her son’s right arm is in a cast and he held paperwork in the other, so his hand gestures were awkward.
The five teens charged as adults in Grunwald’s death pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges. Erick Almandinger was arrested on Dec. 3, and Renfro and the others were arrested on Friday.

Two of the suspects Austin Barrett and Erick Almandinger listen to the proceedings

Dominic Johnson, Bradley Renfro, Austin Barrett and Erick Almandinger all from Wassila are charged with first- and second-degree murder, kidnapping and hindering prosecution. Devin Peterson, 18,from Palmer is charged with hindering prosecution and evidence tampering.
Grunwald failed to return to his Palmer home after dropping off his girlfriend on Nov. 13. Alaska State Troopers found Grunwald’s Ford Bronco torched and ditched up a rough trail up on the Talkeetna Mountains north of Wasilla.
Investigators say the 16-year-old Grunwald was killed on the night of Nov. 13, but his body wasn’t found until, and his body was found three weeks later, on Dec. 2. Investigators said he was pistol-whipped by an acquaintance, driven to a remote location and shot, according to a criminal complaint against Erick Almandinger, who was the first of the five teens to be arrested, on Dec. 3.

David Grunwald 2.jpg

Erick Almandinger reason for killing David Grunwald [photo] was that the victim smoked all his [Almandinger’s] weed

The charge sheet has Almandinger describing how the victim came to a trailer next to his [Almandinger’s] Palmer home to drink and smoke marijuana.
He was then brutally pistol-whipped before being loaded into his own Ford Bronco and driven to the Knik River, where he was shot and killed. The Bronco was burnt and left at the base of the Talkeetna Mountains.

 The only motive Almandinger provided was Grunwald “had smoked all his weed,” according to an Alaska State Troopers affidavit filed with charging documents.

Peterson was charged with three counts of evidence tampering and first-degree hindering prosecution. The suspects except Peterson are charged with first- and second-degree murder, hindering prosecution and evidence tampering. They are held in custody without bail. For Peterson who is charged with hindering prosecution and evidence tampering, bail was set at $100,000 and the requirement of a third-party custodian.

Almandinger has been attending court wearing orange jail scrubs during Monday’s hearing, which can indicate an inmate separated from the general population. The others wore yellow.


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