ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The first teenage defendant was convicted this week for the November 2016 murder of David Grunwald, but three other teenagers are still awaiting trial for their alleged roles in Grunwald's death. The trials for two of the defendants won't take place until 2019 at the earliest, according to Palmer District Attorney, Roman Kalytiak.
Dominic Johnson, 18, is set to appear at a pretrial conference in Palmer on June 4 to determine when he will stand trial. Kalytiak says the DA’s office hopes for the trial to start sometime in September or October and be finished by the end of 2018.
The two other cases are less certain. Bradley Renfro, 17, and Austin Barrett, 19, are both charged with murder and both are scheduled to attend a pretrial conference June 21 to determine when their trials will take place.
However, the busy schedule at Palmer Superior Court and the complexity of their cases means the earliest trials will begin is sometime in 2019.
The Palmer DA is also unsure who will be the presiding judge over those cases, as Judge Gregory Heath, is slated to retire at the end of the year. Kalytiak says the Alaska Judicial Council will either need to replace him or call him back from retirement to hear the remaining cases.
Heath was the judge for 18-year-old Erick Almandinger’s case as he was convicted this week on all nine of the charges against him, including first-degree murder.
Kalytiak says the DA’s office hopes to see him sentenced in September.
Chris Provost, the attorney for Austin Barrett, says he is digesting everything from the Almandinger case and won’t confirm whether he will seek to have Barrett and Renfro tried separately.
Provost says it’s an unusual case in that police have not identified who they believe directly pulled the trigger and killed Grunwald.
Devin Peterson, 19, a fifth defendant, pleaded guilty in January to charges of evidence tampering and hindering prosecution, but is not being charged with Grunwald's murder. He is set to be sentenced in August.