PROVO, Utah, June 21, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Meagan Grunwald received a reduced sentence Monday for her role in the 2014 shooting death of Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cody Wride.
The reduced sentence was the result of an agreement reached with prosecutors after a 2015 murder conviction was reversed by the Utah Supreme Court in February due to improper jury instructions.
Rather than retry Grunwald on murder charges, prosecutors offered her a chance to plead guilty to manslaughter and she accepted the reduced sentence as part of a deal.
Grunwald was 17 when she drove, as boyfriend Angel Garcia-Juaregui, 27, shot and killed Wride. The sergeant, a husband and father of five, was reportedly nine months from retirement.
Wride had stopped to question Garcia-Juaregui and Grunwald when he found them in a Toyota Tundra pickup stopped on the side of state Route 27. According to court documents, Garcia-Juaregui told Grunwald, the driver, to step on the gas before he shot out of the vehicle’s back window and killed Wride as he sat in his patrol car.
Grunwald also drove during a police pursuit through Juab and Utah counties. Garcia-Juaregui also wounded Utah County Sheriff’s Deputy Greg Sherwood, shooting him in the head. Sherwood survived.
Garcia-Juarequi died in a Nephi shootout that followed.
In 2015, Grunwald was found guilty of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery, both first-degree felonies. She was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.
Later, the Utah Supreme Court reversed Grunwald’s conviction, and a new trial was ordered.
On May 17 of this year, 24-year-old Grunwald accepted a plea deal that resulted in changes to the charges she faced and the possible penalties.
Grunwald pleaded guilty to:
- Manslaughter, which was reduced from a first- to a second-degree felony as a result of the deal.
- Assault against a police officer, a first-degree felony, which was reduced to a second-degree felony.
Charges dismissed with prejudice as a result of the plea deal were:
- Aggravated robbery, classified as a first-degree felony
- Attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony
- Criminal mischief, a second-degree felony
- Possession or use of a controlled substance, a third-degree felony
- Failure to stop/respond at command of police, a third-degree felony
- Two counts of felony discharge of a firearm, classified as a third-degree felony
- Criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor
- Accident involving property damage, a class B misdemeanor
The agreement means Grunwald is now sentenced to two one-to-15-year sentences, which the judge ordered to run consecutively. It is estimated she will serve at least seven more years before being paroled.
Grunwald has 30 days to appeal her sentence.