Johnson found guilty on all counts in Grunwald murder

 Dominic Johnson sits in court on the first day of his trial for murder. (KTUU)
Dominic Johnson sits in court on the first day of his trial for murder. (KTUU) (KTUU)
Published: Dec. 27, 2018 at 4:03 PM AKST
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Dominic Johnson, one of four young men charged with the execution-style killing of 16-year-old David Grunwald in 2016, has been found guilty on all nine charges he faced in the case, including first-degree murder.

Johnson was convicted of Murder 1, Kidnapping resulting in injury, Murder 2 – intending serious injury, Murder 2 – extreme indifference, Murder 2 – Felony murder, Tampering with physical evidence, Assault 1, Vehicle theft 1, and Arson 3 for burning a motor vehicle on public land. Five of the charges are unclassified felonies, which mean Johnson could face a sentence of up to 99 years for each charge.

Johnson, now 18 years old, was just 16 at the time of the murder, the same age as Grunwald and many of the other suspects in the case.

A Snapchat video from hours before Grunwald’s death that shows Johnson talking about hitting someone in the head as hard as he can – was


In closing arguments Wednesday, Johnson’s lawyers argued that cell phone data showed him to be elsewhere when Grunwald was shot and killed. State prosecutors said the cell phone data was not always accurate to the exact location. They also said the notion that Johnson, believed to have instigated the beating that preceded Grunwald’s kidnapping and death, then removed himself from the situation, is implausible.

Grunwald went missing on November 13, 2016, after dropping his girlfriend off at her home. Instead of returning home, he stopped by the home of Erick Almandinger – now convicted of his murder – where a number of teens were drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana in a travel trailer out back.

Grunwald was reportedly bludgeoned in the head with the butt of a pistol, driven to a remote area in his own Ford Bronco and dumped near the Knik River, where he was shot. His Bronco was found burned at a trailhead in another part of the Mat-Su. Johnson led authorities to Grunwald’s body on Dec. 2, 2016.

Johnson is the second of the young men to be tried for murder.


Erick Almandinger, now 19, was

. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in March. Two more young men, Bradley Renfro, 18, and Austin Barrett, 21, still face trial in the case.

The two are scheduled for evidentiary hearings in early March.

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