PROVO — Lawyers for a 17-year-old Draper girl charged with aggravated murder in the death of Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Cory Wride want her trial moved out of Utah County.
Defense attorney Rhome Zabriskie argues that the "inundation of bad publicity" in Utah County will make it impossible for Meagan Grunwald to get a fair trial in 4th District Court. He suggested in a court motion that the case against her be moved to 3rd District Court in West Jordan.
Zabriskie described Wride and sheriff's deputy Greg Sherwood, who survived a gunshot to the head, as "local heroes" whose accomplishments and status in the community have been highlighted in numerous news stories.
"The defendant, who was not the gunman, has been cast in a very unfavorable light in these news stories," he wrote. "The widespread coverage has created too great a risk of unfair bias in Utah County."
Zabriskie cited as examples comments to stories posted on Provo's Daily Herald website that say, "How about 20 to life?" and "I say they can take as long as they want so long as she stays locked up for the duration."
Grunwald, who was charged as an adult, is facing 12 charges in connection with a Jan. 30 crime spree that left Wride dead and severely injured Sherwood. Investigators believe Grunwald's boyfriend, Jose Angel Garcia-Juaregui, 27, fired the weapon while Grunwald acted as the getaway driver.
Garcia-Juaregui was killed in a shootout with police.
Zabriskie said judgments are being made about Grunwald before hearing her account of what was going on inside the vehicle, which he said no one witnessed due to dark tint on the windows.
He also asked the judge to consider that the Utah County Sheriff's Office would provide security in the courtroom and jury deliberations for a trial in Provo. He noted that Grunwald is now held in the Salt Lake Detention Center to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
Regardless of efforts made at impartiality, jurors might feel pressure to reach a guilty verdict to vindicate the death of a law enforcement officer, Zabriskie wrote.
Grunwald is charged with aggravated murder, two counts of felony discharge of a firearm with serious bodily injury, two counts of attempted aggravated murder, and aggravated robbery, all first-degree felonies.
She is also charged with criminal mischief, a second-degree felony; felony discharge of a firearm, possession or use of a controlled substance, and failure to respond to an officer's signal to stop, all third-degree felonies; criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor; and violation of operator duties for accident involving property damage, a class B misdemeanor.
Email: email@example.com, Twitter: dennisromboy; DNewsCrimeTeam