Evidence shows Almandinger deleted Snapchat, Facebook messages
Evidence from murder suspect Erick Almandinger’s tablet shows he deleted Facebook conversation he had the day troopers say he killed 16-year-old David Grunwald.
On Thursday, the sixth day of the trial, Alaska State Trooper Dustin Jorgensen testified about pictures and messages he found on Almandinger’s social media accounts.
The first pictures shown to the jury were from Almandinger’s Snapchat profile. Many were taken or modified on October 19, 2016. There are pictures of Almandinger doing “gang-related” activity like holding up the ‘C’ sign, which stands for Crips, a California-based gang.
Another photo of Almandinger has the word ‘killahs’ superimposed on it.
“Some of the file paths for the photos show they were in a Snapchat folder,” Jorgensen explained. "However, during the manual examination of the phone, I did not see the Snapchat app-- which has a very notable, ghost shaped yellow icon-- I did not see that during the manual examination.”
On Tuesday, Sgt. Tony Wegrzyn testified he saw Almandinger delete an item from his tablet before handing it over to investigators.
"His hands were shaking. I told him to power it off. His hands were shaking to the point where it was difficult to power it off. He ultimately got it powered off, but he was visibly shaking,” Sgt. Wegrzyn told the jury.
Jorgensen also analyzed Almandinger’s tablet for the internet search history.
“Crip, gang-related, pendants, gold and diamonds,” Jorgensen listed. “Crip six-point star meaning."
On October 19, 2016, Almandinger also looked for “unique, Crip-related items” on Etsy, a website for homemade goods.
Altogether Trooper Jorgensen analyzed data from seven social media accounts from people connected to the case.
“It’s the largest volume of social media records in my seven years in the unit I’ve ever had to look through or analyze. It was huge. If printed out, it would take up volumes,” he told the jury.
Jorgensen recovered Facebook messages from November 13, 2016. He said troopers asked Facebook to “preserve” Almandinger’s account on November 15, 2016.
“That way, it’s set aside so it’s not changed should the user elect to delete that data,” Jorgensen explained.
They were given digital Facebook records that included a conversation between Almandinger and suspect Dominic Johnson.
At 8:09 p.m. on November 13, 2016, Johnson asked Almandinger to “borrow his toolie.” Investigators say “toolie” is the word the group used for gun.
Both discussed becoming homeless and trying to find a place to stay.
Minutes later, at 8:15 p.m., Johnson messaged Almandinger, “Can't talk in person do you wanna be let in on something.”
Trooper Jorgensen said he did not find that conversation when he manually searched the tablet.
"Did you see in those records, did you not see the body of the conversation or did not see the conversation at all?” Assistant District Attorney Melissa Howard asked.
"I did not see the body of the conversation, I saw messages that said deleted,” Jorgensen replied.
There was also a conversation with Johnson from November 18, 2016 that was entirely deleted.
In a Facebook message exchange with Devin Peterson on November 25, 2016, Peterson said his mother wouldn’t let him go to Almandinger’s house because he was the “main suspect.”
Almandinger denied that statement, saying he was, “Jus [sic] someone they think has info on so.ething [sic] that didnt happen."
He goes on to talk about the troopers’ investigative efforts in the case.
“Fuck with a 16 yo genius see what happens :) when youre smarter than the [c]ops."
Questions or comments about this article? Email reporter Heather Hintze.
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