PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - An evidentiary hearing for accused murderer Erick Almandinger entered its second day at the Palmer courthouse Tuesday, and the court continued to review an hours-long video of the defendant’s interview with detectives during the homicide investigation.
Almandinger is one of four defendants charged with the murder of 16-year-old David Grunwald, and he’ll be the only one to stand trial alone. His trial is currently scheduled to begin in early May.
In the video, Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Tony Wegrzyn urges Almandinger to tell his side of the story. Almandinger's grandmother, and both of his parents, were present during different parts of the interview.
“I can tell you right now that so far the stories that I've gotten from other people have been backed up by physical evidence,” Wegrzyn says in the video. “The only one that hasn't been backed up by physical evidence is yours. Now you have yet to tell your actual side of the story, you've told us lies. You didn't have anything to do with it, we know that's not the case.”
Throughout the interview, Almandinger asserts that he did not hurt Grunwald and was not the one who pulled the trigger. But he admits that he was present when the teen was beaten, driven to a remote location, shot and left for dead. Almandinger also describes his role in burning Grunwald’s Ford Bronco.
“Me and [Bradley Renfro] dump gasoline all over the inside seats and steering wheel, dashboard, inside the glove box, back seat, all that,” he says. “And then I tried to light a branch and throw in there because I'm not trying to get lit on fire.”
Even after two full days, the court wasn’t able to watch the footage in its entirety, and Almandinger’s evidentiary hearing is set to resume on Monday.