SALT LAKE CITY — Meagan Grunwald will get a new trial, but not for the murder of a Utah County Sheriff’s sergeant, the Utah Court of Appeals has ruled.
In a decision made public on Thursday, the state appeals court ordered a new trial for her on charges related to the shooting of a deputy and shooting at other officers.
“At trial, the jury was incorrectly instructed on the elements of accomplice liability,” Judge Diana Hagan wrote. “There is a reasonable probability that the result would have been different if the jury had been correctly instructed on the law. As a result, we must vacate those convictions and remand for a new trial on those counts.”
The three-judge panel upheld Grunwald’s murder and carjacking convictions.
“In so ruling, we recognize that Grunwald stands convicted of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery, for which she is serving consecutive sentences of 25 years to life and 5 years to life, respectively. Our remand for a new trial on the counts requiring reversal is the relief to which she is entitled for her partial success on appeal. Whether she will be retried on those counts is, of course, a judgment call for the State,” Judge Hagan wrote.
In 2014, Grunwald and her boyfriend, Jose Angel Garcia Juaregui, were pulled over on a road near Lehi when Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cory Wride approached their vehicle. Juaregui shot and killed Sgt. Wride and Grunwald drove the vehicle on a multi-county chase where other officers were shot at.
The chase ended with Juaregui’s death. Because Utah has no accomplice law, Grunwald was on the hook for murder. After a trial in 2015, Grunwald was convicted. The appeals court ruled the jury was improperly instructed on Utah’s accomplice liability laws and overturned the convictions on those specific counts.
“There is a reasonable probability that Grunwald may have secured an acquittal on the remaining counts had the jury been correctly instructed on the law,” Judge Hagan wrote.
Read the opinion here: