Girl charged with murder in Utah County deputy’s shooting

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PROVO -- Utah County prosecutors have thrown the book at a 17-year-old Draper girl they say assisted in a crime spree Jan. 30 that killed a Utah County sergeant and wounded another deputy.

Meagan Dakota Grunwald faces 17 charges, mostly felonies, including aggravated murder, attempted murder and obstruction of justice.  Prosecutors say she drove her boyfriend as he opened fire on police.

Prosecutors say the girl wasn't held against her will, she was an accessory to the crimes.

According to an affidavit, witnesses say Grunwald is expecting Jose Angel Garcia-Juaregui's child.  Once she turned 18 in August, she planned to marry him and move to Mexico.

They lived with her parents in their home in Draper. Her father didn't approve and a neighbor, who didn't want to be identified, says they argued constantly about it.

"Jerry had a big meltdown and threw him out of the house," said the neighbor.

She says she saw Grunwald the day of the shooting spree.

"She just got in the truck and drove away very fast west," the neighbor said.

The neighbor said Grunwald seemed agitated.

Charging documents say Grunwald had methamphetamine in her system when she and Garcia-Juaregui encountered Sgt. Cory Wride during a traffic stop in Eagle Mountain. Wride was checking Grunwald's ID, plus false information Garcia-Juaregui provided when according to charging documents, "through observing Sgt. Wride's dash cam video, Grunwald places the vehicle in drive and leaves her foot on the brake ... Approximately 4 minutes after ... Garcia-Juaregui quickly opens the back sliding glass window of the Tundra and fires seven shots into Sgt. Wride's vehicle. After the first 2 shots, Grunwald accelerates quickly and leaves the scene."

Grunwald never pulled the trigger, prosecutors say, but gave chase as seen in recently released dashcam video. The chase ended in Juab County, where deputies shot Garcia-Juaregui after police say he opened fire on police.

According to the charging document, as the teenager surrendered, Grunwald yelled at police, "you f---ing shot him!" and Garcia-Juaregui stated,

"You’re not going to let me kiss my girl with my last dying breath?”

Defense Attorney Greg Skordas analyzed Tuesday's charges against the teen.

"In Utah, a murder is enhanced to an aggravated murder if the victim is a peace officer acting as a police officer," Skordas said. "That certainly raised the ante for her that certainly made the charges more severe, and certainly more easily caused the state to make the decision to charge her as an adult."

Neither Grunwald’s family nor her lawyer has made statements to Fox 13. The Utah County and Juab County attorneys are scheduled to speak at a press conference in Utah County Wednesday at 10 a.m. Grunwald's first court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 24.

Click here to download the charging document. [PDF, 1.57 MB]

Details on FOX 13 News and fox13now.com as they become available...

27 comments

  • Georgia

    This is very sad. Both a police officer and a 17-year-old girl have lost their lives – in different ways, of course. It makes you wonder how such a young person gets to that point.

  • Oh Bite Me

    She and Nathan sloop,should be taken behind the court house and executed.Sloop for what he did to that poor child,And Grundwald for being part of the hell she has participated in. Save the tax payers.

    • Stinger

      Jen, What is your problem? She is entitled to her opinion just like you are. If you can not handle it then you should go away.

    • Patricia Ramirez (@em18966)

      Thanks, Christina. This isn’t an isolated incident of police being above the law. Look at the Danielle Willard case. She was MURDERED by WVPD cops and they got nothing but suspensions. There’s a reinstatement hearing for one of them on the 24th of this month. A cop murders a citizen and they get fired, a girl drives a car for someone who shoots a cop and she gets charged with capital murder. It’s absolutely ludicrous.

      • Gypsy

        Patricia, if some one has the nerve to kill an armed officer when he’s just trying to help them than what are they going to have the nerve to do to the average citizen when they are mad, drunk or high?

  • little boy blue

    Sounds like Patricia has had some run-ins with law enforcement to where she thinks that all cops are below a certain IQ and just stumble around giving tickets to idiots that don’t deserve them. Think about forensic science and how these low IQ law enforcement agents figure out how criminals operate. I think that law enforcement is a little smarter than Patty. And by the way…I guess you viewed the reports that say that the girl didn’t shoot the gun right? Maybe she is a little more involved than you or us know. Respect the law and you shouldn’t get in anymore trouble. And next time your in trouble DON’T CALL A COP! Call on one of your friends to come and save you.

  • Robert

    There does seem to be a bunch of pitchforks in the air! I stand with the idiots but only because of 9 years in the Army. My view is… This girl should be charged appropriately and for the crimes she committed as a child, held until she is 21, when our government recognizes she is an adult and released. Too many times we choose to try children as adults when society still deems children of the opposite path (service members) able to die for their country but not to enjoy the benefits of being an adult. They should make this girls legal guardians sign a waiver stating that she is mature enough to be tried as an adult. At what point does a child become an adult? Is it only when we as full fledged adults decide? I call B.S.

  • Belva Carlisle-Bushman

    Perhaps, Patricia, just perhaps, the reason charges are elevated is the fact that this woman chose to engage in a battle against an ARMED officer(s). If she is so brazen as to fire shots (discharge of firearm is listed in the charges if you took the time to read) at HEAVILY ARMED law enforcement officers. WHAT, in heavens name, do you think would stop a person like that from attacking or murdering an unarmed citizen or even a child. Your comments stem from some pathetic wrong you feel law enforcement has dealt you or someone you know. Do officers get it right every time? Probably not, but at least they are trying to provide a service. Do they get paid for their job? Would you put your life on the line for less that $60,000 per year? Yeah, I thought not. These officers do what they do because they want to make a difference. Your perception is skewed and makes me highly question your integrity. I’m with “little boy blue”, next time you are in trouble PLEASE, DON’T CALL A COP! I personally don’t want my loved ones risking anything for someone with your attitude. But truth be known, they’d be there if you need them.

    • Stinger

      $60K? when was the last time you have seen a pay chart for our soldiers? They have a higher risk of being killed or injured. There is a lot of people in the U.S. that would love $60K a year. If the cop thinks their pay is too low they are free to find a different job. They are not drafted of forced in any way to be a cop. They are no different than anyone else!!

  • Patricia Ramirez (@em18966)

    Looks like Fox is removing my comments and moderating them. Oh well, it’s not surprising in this state where everyone is happiest thinking and reasoning like a single organism.

    Again, I feel as though people are missing my point. You don’t have to be a criminal to be fearful of the amount of power given to people with 18 months of training, or of the type of screening process these people go through to get into their positions.

    This girl should be charged for her actions, and punished accordingly. Accordingly, though, is not capital murder. Maybe 2nd degree murder. Maybe aiding and abetting.

    Her charges were trumped up because this was a cop.

    And NO, I don’t believe these people posed a larger threat to society as a whole simply because they were willing to attack a cop. A cop posed a direct threat to whatever they were doing. They weren’t hunting people down in their homes, they killed a cop because a cop was in a position of authortity.

    Again, I don’t think the girl should get off without being charged, but I think the charges were trumped up and inflated because the victim in the crime was a cop. An armed cop who chose his career and was paid for doing what he was doing. He was never forced into service. He collected a paycheck., He wasn’t doing what he was doing out of the goodness of his heart, but rather because it was his chosen career. He was no better than you or me, and he shouldn’t get a higher standard of justice than the next American citizen.

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