Witness describes Renfro's volatile home life
Murder suspect Bradley Renfro has been described as being homeless during the time David Grunwald was killed in November 2016.
The state called Alanah Peterson as a witness Wednesday, and she testified, in part, to Renfro’s volatile home life.
She said Renfro was good friends with her son Devin Peterson, who has pleaded guilty to hiding the guns used to beat and murder Grunwald.
Renfro was a frequent visitor at the Peterson house and often spent the night. Alanah said there was a reason for that.
“From what I observed of Bradley’s dad, he wasn’t a very nice man. So I kind of understood why Bradley didn’t want to be home. I kind of felt bad, and I allowed him to be at my house a lot,” she said.
Renfro’s attorney Chris Provost asked if she knew Renfro’s father was an “active alcoholic.”
Alanah said she could smell alcohol on Renfro’s father and that he was an angry drunk.
“His dad was just mean to him. Bradley, I remember taking him home and his dad yelling at him. I almost wanted to bring him back,” Alanah said.
“Did you ever hear his dad say, ‘Get the f--- out of my house’?” Provost asked.
“Yeah,” she responded.
Palmer district attorney Roman Kalytiak has pointed out all of the suspects in Grunwald’s murder had parents and homes to go to.
Despite being in high school, some of the suspects lived a transient kind of lifestyle.
Erick Almandinger, the first to be convicted for his role in the crimes, was living at drug houses the summer of 2016; Dominic Johnson had a strained relationship with his mother and was living with his grandmother.
Kalytiak suggested it’s possible Renfro wasn’t living at home because of behavior like smoking marijuana.
“Is it possible some of these young men were kicked out of their homes because they couldn’t follow rules?” he asked Alanah.
“It’s possible, but I never have really spoke to their parents about that. So I couldn’t make that assumption,” she responded.
The state’s most hostile witness was Andrea Cullington. In November 2018, troopers arrested her to get her to testify in Johnson’s trial.
In Johnson's trial, Cullington’s cell phone provided a key piece of evidence investigators had been searching for for two years.
It's a short Snapchat video that shows Johnson saying, “In the head, as hard as I can. Just to try to hurt him. Just to try to f------ hurt him.” Several indistinguishable voices can be heard echoing his statement.
That video was taken just hours before Grunwald was pistol-whipped and killed.
Judge Gregory Heath decided to allow the video to be used in Renfro’s trial, but only as evidence that it was Johnson who had planned the beating.
Jurors were not shown the video on Wednesday, but Kalytiak asked witnesses to describe it.
Cullington was noticeably annoyed as she took the witnesses stand.
Her answers to the district attorney’s questions were short and, at times, confrontational.
She described the circumstances around when she showed Johnson’s mother, Misty Johnson, the video and said it played automatically.
“So she saw it,” Kalytiak asked.
“Yes, that’s a repetitive question,” Cullington said.
“OK, yeah. Sometimes I ask repetitive questions in the process. But I am the one who gets to ask the questions,” Kalytiak said.
“Go ahead,” Cullington said.
When Kalytiak asked her if she had anything to do with Grunwald’s murder on Nov. 13 she said no, then tried to hold back tears.
On the way out of the courtroom she whispered something to Renfro that KTVA’s camera could not pick up.
Audience members who were closer to Renfro said Cullington said something to the effect of “hang in there.”
Misty Johnson will be the first to testify on Thursday.
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