Meagan Grunwald appeals murder conviction in deputy’s death

SALT LAKE CITY — Meagan Grunwald, convicted in the murder of a Utah County Sheriff’s deputy and the wounding of another, is asking the Utah Court of Appeals to overturn the guilty verdict.

While she didn’t pull the trigger that killed Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cory Wride, she was convicted under Utah’s accomplice laws as if she did. Her new lawyers claim that if her attorneys at trial properly challenged jury instructions on the law, she might not have been found guilty.

Meagan Grunwald at her sentencing in 2015. (Court pool image)

Meagan Grunwald at her sentencing in 2015. (Court pool image)

“These errors go to the heart of what defense counsel is there to prevent. Whatever else good a defense attorney can do, if counsel does not hold the State to the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt the required elements of the crimes, the defendant is denied the constitutional right of effective assistance,” Grunwald’s lawyer, Douglas Thompson, wrote. “If Grunwald’s case is not overturned for ineffectiveness when the government was not required to prove even the bare elements of the charges, it’s hard to imagine what case could be overturned for ineffectiveness.”

Sgt. Cory Wride (picture courtesy Utah County Sheriff's Office)

Sgt. Cory Wride (picture courtesy Utah County Sheriff’s Office)

Grunwald is serving 25-to-life in prison for the murder of Sgt. Cory Wride and the shooting of Deputy Greg Sherwood back in 2014. Prosecutors said Grunwald, then 17, was in a vehicle parked on the side of the road with her boyfriend, 27-year-old Jose Angel Garcia-Juaregui, when they were approached by Wride who was checking to see if they were OK.

Garcia-Juaregui shot and killed Wride, Grunwald testified at trial, then forced her to drive and lead police on a multi-county chase. Garcia-Juaregui, who was wanted for violating his parole, was killed by police.