David Grunwald’s parents testify in suspect’s murder trial
The parents of David Grunwald took the witness stand during the trial of one of his accused murderers.
Erick Almandinger, 18, is one of four people investigators say shot and killed Grunwald on November 13, 2016.
Both Ben and Edie Grunwald say it’s hard to describe what it’s like to sit through Almandinger’s trial.
Each day, they’re learning new and gruesome details about David’s death, like how his body was frozen to the ground. Ben said he still can’t look at any of the pictures from the crime scene or David’s autopsy.
Edie Grunwald was the first of the two to give testimony on Tuesday morning and was fairly stoic during the proceeding.
She talked about her time in the military with the National Guard and described raising David with military values and the importance always being on time.
Edie said David always abided by his set curfew. On Sunday, November 13—a school night—his was supposed to be home at 9:20 p.m.
When he didn’t arrive and didn’t answer his phone, his parents started to worry and soon filed a missing persons report with Alaska State Troopers.
“Sleepless, terrorizing, scared,” Edie recalled her feelings during the nearly three-week search for David.
She said troopers asked for David’s dental records and DNA samples just a few days before his body was found.
“At that point, we knew this wasn’t going to end well,” she said quietly.
Ben told jurors about David’s interest in flying planes and became emotional when Almandinger’s defense attorney tried to interrupt him.
"I had saved up enough money for last summer,” he said calmly at first. "I had saved up enough money so my son could go get his flight lessons knocked out,” Ben said, as he angrily pointed at the defense’s side of the room.
Palmer District Attorney Roman Kalytiak and public defender Jon Iannaccone had a conference with the judge after the small outburst.
The clerks played static white noise so the conversation could not be heard, but afterward Judge Gregory Heath said, “For the record, we can strike that last [inaudible]."
Kalytiak then asked Ben if he remembered December 2, 2016.
“Yes, like it happened yesterday.”
That was the day troopers found David’s body in the woods off Knik River Road.
Ben took a long pause before going into detail.
"I got a call from the trooper at 3:44. I asked if it’s a personal favor to call me before he came over to the house. On December 2, 2016, he arrived at 4:02 and had told us that David had been kidnaped and murdered and tortured,” Ben said, as he wiped a tear away.
This was yet another tough day for David’s parents in what is sure to be a long and difficult trial.
Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.