'Just to try to f---ing hurt him': New video evidence played at Johnson murder trial
For more than two years, Andrea Cullington has had a video of Dominic Johnson on her Snapchat account. It's a video Alaska State Troopers have known about since early 2017 as they investigated the murder of David Grunwald.
Johnson is one of four people charged with beating and killing Grunwald in November 2016.
Sgt. Tony Wegrzyn said he first became aware of the video after reviewing text messages from Johnson's mother, Misty Johnson.
On Dec. 11, 2016 Misty texted a person something had "surfaced that's VERY VERY VERY BAD!!!!!(sic)" She later said she would tell the person what it was or "have Andrea show" them.
Throughout their investigation, troopers were never able to find the video.
Until last Thursday.
Troopers arrested Cullington after she didn't respond to a subpoena to testify. Eventually, Cullington showed troopers the video.
In court on Wednesday, Palmer District Attorney Roman Kalytiak asked her why she didn't give investigators the video when she was first interviewed in 2017.
"I supposed I didn't really think about it," Cullington said, adding she was using drugs heavily at the time.
Cullington said she was at Misty Johnson's house when she received the Snapchat message and that's one reason why she showed her the clip.
"The video seemed a little," Cullington said, taking a long pause. "It was odd for me to receive a video of that nature so I thought I would show it to his mother since she was sitting in close proximity to me."
The video initially came from a juvenile's phone and was originally time-stamped Nov. 13, 2016 at 5:26 p.m. She testified in Erick Almandinger's trial earlier this year the group partied in her shed after Grunwald was killed. The juvenile did not know if she took the video and said she was also using drugs at the time. She said she regularly shared her phone with Bradley Renfro, who is also charged in Grunwald's murder.
State prosecutors played the video a total of three times Wednesday as they interviewed both Cullington and the juvenile.
(Viewer warning: Explicit language)
In the 10-second clip, Johnson is at a table, "fiddling with a dab container," the juvenile explained. A dab is a concentrated dose of marijuana made by extracting THC and other cannabinoids, the active component in marijuana.
Johnson can be heard saying, "As hard as I can, in the head. Just to hurt him. Just to try to f---ing hurt him."
Sgt. Wegrzyn said he recorded the clip Cullington showed him with his own phone to preserve the evidence.
"From what I know about Snapchat, they delete by default and although this one was saved, it had been two years now and I was amazed we had anything so I captured it with my state phone," he said.
The state medical examiner was the final witness for the state Wednesday. Grunwald's parents were noticeably absent from their usual seats in court, as Kenneth Gallagher detailed the injuries to their son while showing graphic pictures of the wounds to Grunwald's hands and head.
State prosecutors rested their case.
Defense attorney Lyle Stohler declined to disclose the witnesses he'll call when his case begins Thursday. He expects to be finished by the end of the week.
Closing arguments are expected the day after Christmas.
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