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PROVO — A jury has been selected in the trial against Meagan Grunwald, who is charged with the death of a Utah County sheriff's deputy.
Grunwald, 18, is charged with aggravated murder and attempted aggravated murder in connection with a chase and a series of shootings last year that killed Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Cory Wride and gravely injured deputy Greg Sherwood. In total she faces 12 felony charges and two misdemeanors.
It will be up to the eight-woman, two-man jury to decide whether Grunwald was forced by her 27-year-old boyfriend, Jose Angel Garcia-Juaregui, to drive as he was shooting at pursuing officers and carjacking a second vehicle, or if she was a willing accomplice in cross-county crime spree.
Opening arguments in the case will be presented to that jury Wednesday morning.
Grunwald — dressed in a simple white blouse, a long colorful skirt, and wearing no makeup — sat quietly Tuesday as her attorney, Rhome Zabriskie, briefly renewed his opposition to admitting blood samples taken from Grunwald after her January 2014 arrest as evidence in the trial.
The courtroom was nearly empty as housekeeping matters were resolved prior to the trial's first day. A crowd of family members and law enforcement officers, which had filled the hallway of the 2nd District courthouse on Tuesday afternoon waiting for a spot in the small courtroom, left once the jury had been selected.
Wride was shot and killed on Jan. 30, 2014, after he stopped Grunwald and Garcia-Juaregui's vehicle, believing it was stranded in the snow along state Route 73. Police say Garcia-Juaregui shot Wride as he sat in his police vehicle and the couple took off with Grunwald, then 17, at the wheel. Along the way, Garcia-Juaregui also shot Sherwood and fired at additional officers.
The chase ended in Juab County south of Nephi, where Garcia-Juaregui was shot in a gun battle with police. He died the next day. Grunwald was arrested and eventually charged as an adult for her suspected role in the violent chain of events.