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Teen pleads not guilty in Utah deputy's death

PROVO, Utah (AP) - A teenage girl pleaded not guilty on Monday to nearly a dozen charges from a crime rampage that left a Utah County sheriff's sergeant dead.

Meagan Grunwald, 17, spoke quietly in a Provo courtroom Monday as she entered her pleas against charges of murder, attempted murder and other counts. Grunwald, who is being charged as an adult, appeared with her wrists handcuffed at her waist and wore a navy blue jail jumpsuit.

The teenager is the only surviving suspect from the Jan. 30 police chase and shootout.

Her attorney, Dean Zabriskie, told reporters after the arraignment that Grunwald plans to take the stand in her own defense at trial and will testify that her 27-year-old boyfriend forced her at gunpoint to participate in the crime rampage.

Prosecutors say Angel Garcia-Juaregui is the one who shot Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Cory Wride and another deputy. But they argue Grunwald drove the couple during the chase in a pickup truck registered to the teenager and her mother.

Investigators also have said Grunwald participated in the crimes, including a carjacking.

Garcia-Juaregui, a fugitive, died from injuries he sustained in a shootout with police shortly before law enforcement arrested the pair.

During the crime spree, Grunwald was intimidated, coerced and "scared to death," Zabriskie said.

"We mourn, as the whole community does, for this dead police officer, and the other one that was horribly injured," Zabriskie said. "But we just don't see that our client is responsible for that and we think the evidence will prove that."

Chief Deputy Utah County Attorney Tim Taylor said after court Monday that his office has not discussed the possibility of a plea deal with the teenager's attorneys, who are reviewing thousands of documents of evidence that prosecutors have shared.

"We obviously know that she was there. We know that she participated," he said. "But should there be some sort of plea offer in that case, that's something we're going to be looking at."

Grunwald's relatively young age is something they'll consider when making a decision about a plea deal, Taylor said.

"She's a young girl. But we know that young people can still do horrific crimes," he said.

Taylor said if prosecutors consider a plea deal, they will discuss it with Wride's family first.

At a two-day hearing in April, prosecutors played dash-cam videos from about half a dozen officers involved in the pursuit along snowy highways in central Utah.

Prosecutors with the Utah County Attorney's Office also presented telephone records that showed Grunwald called her mother during the chase, but neither the teenager nor her mother called 911.

Grunwald is facing charges under Utah laws that make participating in and assisting with a crime nearly as serious as committing it.

Besides murder and attempted murder, Grunwald is charged with obstructing justice, aggravated robbery and use of a controlled substance. The teenager tested positive for methamphetamine after the chase, court records show.

A day before the chase, an arrest warrant had been issued for Garcia-Juaregui that alleged violations of his parole conditions. He was paroled from a Utah prison in December 2012 after serving 4 1/2 years for attempted homicide.

Grunwald could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted. She is ineligible for the death penalty because she is under 18.

A trial will be scheduled at a June 2 hearing. Attorneys say they expect the trial will take about three weeks and will be scheduled for late summer or early fall of this year.

Teen Charged in Death of Police Deputy Pleads Not Guilty

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Brian Workman May 12 2014 at 3:04 PM

Give her the BIG NEEDLE!!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
sp600 May 12 2014 at 3:11 PM

Lawyers are lower than whale $hit......

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3 replies
lester May 12 2014 at 3:10 PM

she is innocent i am glade them stupid cop is dead and the other one need to die and this girl is sexy

Flag Reply +1 rate up
9 replies
thomstrains May 12 2014 at 3:09 PM

She is the direct cause of the officer being dead. Make her dead!

God Bless the officer and deepest condolences to his family.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
Sue thomstrains May 12 2014 at 3:20 PM

How can you say, "Make her dead!" and God bless the officer, etc. in the same post? She deserves to be punished severely, but I don't believe God would appreciate His name being used after someone wishes another human being, dead.

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Disculpame May 12 2014 at 3:08 PM

If there is any hard evidence that she "willingly participated" and her actions contributed to the officer's death or any other crime, she should do the required prison time.......

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Harold May 12 2014 at 3:08 PM

This is when you sometimes support abortion so monsters like this would not be born. She should receive the maximum time in jail and all the charges be serve consecutively. Her mother should be fined also for not calling the police, and for being a piss poor excuse of a mother.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
3 replies
mals May 12 2014 at 3:08 PM

Obviously I don't know the circumstances regarding the pictures in the slide show-- but I do not appreciate seeing the one with the defendant and her attorneys with big smiles on their faces. There should be no cause whatsoever for smiles.

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1 reply
mqats mals May 12 2014 at 3:22 PM

It's silly to hold a smile against her. It's going to be difficult for the court to determine to what extent she was coerced. It's certainly impossible for us to know, from reading a story (incompetently written at that). Obviously she shouldn't have gotten involved with the older creep, but should it cost her her life? Lots and lots of jail time, certainly, if it the last part was voluntary.
But the lust to kill her is ugly and inappropriate, at best.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
mantoon3 May 12 2014 at 3:07 PM

With a face like that, she has nothing to life for.

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1 reply
mqats mantoon3 May 12 2014 at 3:12 PM

Are you nuts? She's a perfectly fine looking kid.

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bigred8690 May 12 2014 at 3:07 PM

It's possible. But it's a factual issue which will be decided by a jury weighing the evidence.

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rem119 May 12 2014 at 3:07 PM

Hey it worked for Patty Hearst.

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1 reply
Mary Everett rem119 May 12 2014 at 3:19 PM

I remember about Patty Hearst but can't remember if she served time. I was a kid. Wasn't her father the governor of CA? I know she came from wealth. Money talks.

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