Trial opens for 2nd suspect in ambush killing of Palmer teen
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The trial has started for an Alaska teenager charged in the killing of a 16-year-old boy who prosecutors say was ambushed by a group of “wannabe gang members.”
Dominic Johnson, 18, is the second of four people to go on trial in the November 2016 death of David Grunwald, the Anchorage Daily News reported .
A jury convicted Erick Almandinger, 18, earlier this year of first-degree murder, kidnapping and other counts in the death of Grunwald. Austin Barrett, 21, and Brad Renfro, 18, are scheduled to go to trial next year.
Grunwald was hit with a pistol outside Almandinger’s home in Palmer and then shot in the head in a remote area near the Knik River, authorities said. The teen was reported missing on Nov. 13, 2016, and his Ford Bronco was found burned the next day. Johnson led authorities to the body a few weeks later.
“This is an emotional case,” Johnson’s public defender, Lyle Stohler, said in court. “You’re going to hear some testimony, you’re going to see photos that you have an emotional response to, but you still need to listen closely to all the evidence in this case.”
Palmer District Attorney Roman Kalytiak said the group decided together to beat and kill Grunwald, but it was Johnson who bludgeoned the teen with the handgun. Kalytiak said there isn’t enough evidence to establish who fired the deadly shot.
Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com