Witnesses discuss Renfro's 'gang-related' behavior
Evidence in Bradley Renfro’s trial for the murder of David Grunwald shows the suspect engaging in alleged “gang-related” activity.
Erick Almandinger was the first person convicted of shooting and killing 16-year-old Grunwald in November 2016. Dominic Johnson was also found guilty of the same crimes.
Palmer District Attorney Roman Kalytiak said Almandinger wanted to emulate the Crips, a California-based gang. Some photos of Almandinger wearing blue and flashing gang signs show Renfro doing the same thing.
Almandinger’s neighbor, Christian Ward, testified he saw Almandinger “throw up the C” gang sign on occasion but Ward didn’t participate in that kind of behavior himself.
Renfro’s defense attorney, Chris Provost, asked Ward if, three years later, he thought the gang activity was still “silly and immature” conduct.
“What happened here, who knows would have happened or not happened either way? How do you feel about it today," he asked.
“How do I feel about it today,” Ward said. “I still believe emulating gangs or being in a gang is ridiculous but they took it to a whole nother level. It got dangerous essentially.”
Renfro’s friend, David Evans, testified he was close with all of the people charged in Grunwald’s killing.
Evans is also pictured with Almandinger and Renfro doing “gang-related” activity, something he said he did to fit in with his friends. Evans said Almandinger was the primary person interested in gang culture.
“He told me you either had to go to jail or kill someone to be in a Crip gang,” Evans said.
Evans also told the court he only saw Renfro engage in the same behavior when he was around Almandinger, usually when they were taking pictures together.
The state’s next witnesses are the parents of three people who’ve already been convicted in Grunwald’s death.
Devin Peterson pleaded guilty to hiding the weapons used to beat and kill Grunwald. His mother, Alanah Peterson, will be the first to testify on Wednesday.
Almandinger’s father, Rodney Almandinger, and Dominic Johnson’s mother, Misty Johnson, will also be called to testify.
One issue with holding the trial in Fairbanks is timing out the order of the witnesses. The state had to put up Rodney Almandinger and Alanah Peterson in a hotel overnight because Tuesday’s testimony went longer than expected.
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