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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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xlch1000 May 12 2014 at 9:00 PM

Gee, if she was rich and famous, she'd get away with it easily.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
John xlch1000 May 12 2014 at 11:26 PM

She is a Murderer. Murderer. Rich or Poor, she should never see the outside of a jail cell.

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Crazy Mike May 12 2014 at 7:52 PM

Damn shes cute

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
Aissa2 Crazy Mike May 12 2014 at 8:03 PM

Well, after the trial she will be VERY available. You can be her penpal.

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vulcannc1 May 12 2014 at 7:49 PM

Another little wanna be thug crimal who gets caught and then cries..." It's not my fault, the guy I have been having sex with and ran away with, made me do it.." Yeah, let this little trashy idiot get on the stand in her own defense, that will make her trip to prison all the faster. She needs to rot in prison until she dies.

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lajocanda May 12 2014 at 7:38 PM

The Patty Hearst defense. The victim falls under the spell of the captors, or in this case, boyfriend. Good luck with that ploy.

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1 reply
Martha lajocanda May 12 2014 at 7:59 PM

Stockholm syndrome doesn't apply here , she wasn't a captive, she was a willing participant, as I hope the Prosecution can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt. Her money grubbng lawyers better have her composing tearful letters of apology to the late officers family, becasue her stone face is going to get her convicted.

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Holly Cass Cunningha May 12 2014 at 7:36 PM

This teenage monster needs to spend the rest of her life behind bars.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
terwalk2 Holly Cass Cunningha May 12 2014 at 7:56 PM

yea big shot you know it all huh?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Subrosa May 12 2014 at 7:36 PM

She is 17 who had a 27 year old boyfriend. There you go.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
jimormarylosc May 12 2014 at 7:34 PM

bonnie and clyde all over again.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
MERLIN May 12 2014 at 7:28 PM

i see evil in that face

Flag Reply +4 rate up
3 replies
ajafullmn May 12 2014 at 7:21 PM

These young girls always say "he made me do it'. Yeah, right.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Bill May 12 2014 at 7:16 PM

I have seen looks like that in students I have worked with that have committed crimes without remorse. She will say anything, just like an alcoholic, so she can be allowed to commit more crime in a town she has no respect for. PLEASE STOP LISTENING to kids her age, acting as if that really makes a dif, and treat them as adults.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
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