Almandinger's murder sentencing pushed to early 2019
Erick Almandinger likely won’t be sentenced until next year for his role in the murder of Palmer teen, David Grunwald.
Almandinger was the first of the four suspects to go to trial. Dominic Johnson is scheduled to go to trial at the end of October; Austin Barrett and Bradly Renfro will be tried together, tentatively set for March 2019.
In May, a jury convicted Almandinger, now 18, on all nine charges including first-degree murder, kidnapping and tampering with evidence.
At a status hearing on Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Melissa Wininger-Howard said with Johnson’s trial and the work preparing for Barrett and Renfro’s trial she anticipates a sentencing date next year.
Judge Gregory Heath is retiring at the end of the year but said he would come back to preside over the rest of the trials and sentencing hearings. Judge Heath is required to take some time off after his retirement.
“We thought March would be a time that works with sentencing,” Iannaccone said.
That’s the same week Barrett and Renfro’s trial is expected to begin.
“We may want to do it after that third trial,” Judge Heath said.
After the hearing, David’s mother Edie Grunwald said she’s “okay” with the length of time before her family knows how much time Almandinger will spend in jail for murdering her son.
“He’s not going anywhere and I want it done right.”
Iannccone filed several motions related to the sentencing. He’s asking the judge to limit some of the victim impact statements and prohibit state prosecutors from showing “emotional videos or slideshows” at Almandinger’s sentencing.
In his motion, Iannaccone wrote the videos could “try and sway the sentencing court to give a harsher sentence.”
In a separate motion, Iannaccone requests the judge remove a letter Grunwald’s parents wrote that was meant for the Devin Peterson sentencing.
He also asks the court to remove a letter submitted by “J.D.” because the person has an unknown relationship with the Grunwalds that “does not qualify him as a victim.”
Iannaccone said there are about 20 other letters that don’t meet the criteria for victim impact statements, like one from Colorado and another from a woman who “followed the story in the news but is not related to David.”
Several social media posts were also included in the pre-sentence packet. Iannccone wrote the post are “speculation by people online who had no personal knowledge about any of the events in this case. Some of the posts include people calling for the accused teenagers to be tortured and killed.”
Iannccone went on to say he doesn’t expect the judge to be “blind to the fact that the community was very outraged” at what happened but said Judge Heath needs to look at the statute of what the definition of a “victim” is and rule accordingly.
The sentencing hearing is scheduled to take two days.
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