Eighteen-year-old Meagan Grunwald of Utah received 30 years to life in prison for her participation in the murder of Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt and shooting of the Sheriff’s Deputy. Fourth district court judge Darold McDade sentenced Grunwald to 25 years to life in prison with a chance of parole and additional five years for all other charges.
Victim’s family requested for a chance of parole
Judge McDade considered two options: He could either give Grunwald life without parole or 25 years with the chance of parole. In an emotional twist, the victim’s family requested for her to get a chance for parole.
Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt Cory Wride was killed when Grunwald drove a car for her 27-year old boyfriend. Wride chanced upon the couple and recognized her boyfriend as being the one wanted by police. Grunwald’s boyfriend shot the deputy as she drove their getaway car.
Kathy Wride, the deputy’s mother, requested for Judge McDae to Give grunwald a chance at parole. “I believe in second chances,” Kathy told the judge as reported by FOX13. The Wride family agreed for a chance at parole.
The Sgt’s widow, Nannette, said her life was shattered when her husband died. She nevertheless wants for the 18-year-old girl to turn her life around. Nanette said she will attend Grunwald’s parole hearings when the day comes.
“You are forgiven,” Nanette told Grunwald, crying. “Sweet girl, I hope one day you can forgive yourself.”
Grunwald was also moved into tears. “I’m very sorry for any pain or loss I have caused. I do regret all of my actions,” she said.
“It’s hard for me to ask for forgiveness when I have a hard time forgiving myself,” Grunwald told court.
Judge McDade told Grunwald that her actions “contributed to the death of a very good man.” McDade told her he believes she is a victim, “but not in the way you look at it.”
Grunwald could be released in 2044 at the earliest. She would be 47 years old then.
The willing accomplice
Attorney Dean Zabriskie, Grunwald’s lawyer, argued that she was just scared as her boyfriend had pointed a gun to her head. He said Grunwald was only forced to drive off through three Utah counties for fear of being killed.
However, Utah County Sheriff’s Deputy Greg Sherwood, who was shot during the shootout and chase, upheld that Grunwald was a willing accomplice. He said Grunwald drove past him without batting an eyelid after she saw him shot in the head and fighting for his life. He said if Grunwald was really in trouble, she could have stopped and asked them for help.
“She could have ran towards me, and I would have protected her with all my energy. Instead, she made the choice to run,” Sherwood told court as reported by The Associated Press.
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