Prosecuting attorney offers new evidence in Renfro trial
On the sixth and final day of testimony in Fairbanks, Bradley Renfro is facing renewed questioning of his character after the state submitted a new piece of evidence that the District Attorney, Roman Kalytiak suggested shows Renfro’s ‘true colors.’
Renfro is on trial for his involvement in the 2016 murder of David Grunwald. Grunwald was beaten with a pistol, kidnapped in his own Ford Bronco, and then taken out to a deserted location near the Knik River where he was shot.
Four teenage boys are said to be involved. The others are Dominic Johnson, Erick Almandinger, and Austin Barrett. Renfro has gone on record saying Barrett is the one who pulled the trigger.
For the past week, Renfro and his attorney, Chris Provost have been making a case that Renfro didn’t really want to be involved in the murder, but rather was threatened with his life by the others to be an accomplice in the murder.
On Wednesday in Fairbanks, the prosecution submitted a new piece of evidence to the public record that they put in to try and prove that Bradley Renfro is not the innocent - and reformed - man he’s trying to make himself out to be.
The evidence came in the form of two phone calls recorded from the Fairbanks Correctional Center from just two days ago, making them evidence gathered during the time of the trial. One was to his step-mother, and the other to his biological mother.
According to Judge Gregory Heath, there’s not much in them that constitutes relevant information to the case. They are mostly recordings of Renfro using excess profanity and discussing vulgar topics with people who raised him. While they do contrast heavily with the way Renfro talks on the stand, Judge Heath didn’t allow the jury to hear them.
“They can’t argue that he’s not a changed person, because the jury can’t make that decision,” he said. “That is not what this case is about, but they can argue that he minimized his attitude. So that would be the only relevance that I could see in this list of things that are to evaluate.”
However, there was a small portion of a transcript of the first tape that the judge allowed the jury to see. Judge Heath said it was because Renfro’s step-mother, Chara Renfro, was telling him to not act out in court or butt heads with the attorney.
Earlier in the testimony, Renfro said that on the night of the murder he called a friend’s mother, Pamela Grunden, in an attempt to get away from the other teens involved. He testified that Grunden’s significant other was ‘spec-ops,’ and that he wanted to get to them to help him get away from what was going on.
Grunden’s testimony was short. Provost called her to the stand just as a confirmation witness. She said Renfro had called her the night of the murder but didn’t answer because she was asleep.
That was the only new witness called to testify since Renfro’s been on the stand.
The defense rested their case around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. Closing arguments are set for Thursday, Oct. 3.