Grunwald’s autopsy photos show pistol whipping injuries, fatal shot
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES THAT MAY DISTURB SOME VIEWERS. DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
As Erick Almandinger’s murder trial begins to wrap up, the jury got a look at the injuries David Grunwald had when he died.
Troopers said Almandinger and three other suspects—Dominic Johnson, Austin Barrett and Bradley Renfro—pistol-whipped Grunwald then took him into the woods and executed him on the night of November 13, 2016.
Grunwald’s parents, Ben and Edie Grunwald, were noticeably absent from the courtroom as the Medical Examiner showed jurors David’s autopsy photos.
“Absolutely not. There’s no way,” Edie said after court adjourned for the day.
The couple says they can’t look at the pictures, but they want everyone else to see what was done to their son.
“This picture shows two injuries to the back of the head,” State Medical Examiner Ken Gallagher explained.
He showed pictures of Grunwald’s hands and arms covered in bruises, consistent with defensive wounds.
Almandinger said it was Dominic Johnson who beat Grunwald in the head several times with a .40 gun. He said Austin Barrett was the one who pulled the trigger.
“He turns him (Grunwald) around facing us, and as soon as he looks up the bullet goes,” Almandinger makes a motion into his forehead. "He does nothing but just drop, his legs give out. His head hits the ground before his body does,” he told troopers in an interview on December 2, 2016, the day Grunwald’s body was found in the woods off Knik River Road.
Gallagher said Grunwald had 14 defensive wounds on his arms, seven blunt force trauma injuries to his head, as well as an entrance and exit wound from the bullet.
"The pathway going through the skin of the front scalp, the bone of the front skull and right hemisphere of the brain and exiting out the skull and scalp in that area,” Gallagher said, as he described the bullet’s trajectory.
Throughout Gallagher’s entire testimony, Almandinger never once looked at the screen.
Investigators have said the four teens killed Grunwald to cover up the beating.
"Without the injury from the gunshot wound, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty, he should have been able to recover fully,” Gallagher said.
Instead, troopers say Almandinger delivered a fatal shot and left Grunwald to die alone.
Witness testimony is expected to wrap up on Tuesday, after the Memorial Day holiday.
Jurors could begin deliberation by the end of next week.
Editor's Note: The family of David Grunwald approved of the autopsy photos being included in our coverage, as they want the public to know what happened to their son.
Questions or comments about this story? Email reporter Heather Hintze.
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