Will Bradley Renfro testify at his murder trial?
Will Bradley Renfro testify in his murder trial for the death of David Grunwald? That’s the question looming after the fourteenth day of trial.
Renfro is one of four people charged with beating and killing 16-year-old Grunwald in November 2016. Erick Almandinger and Dominic Johnson have been convicted on all charges including first-degree murder, but neither testified during their respective trials.
Chris Provost, Renfro's attorney, told the judge he needed time to discuss the options with his client. The state has rested its case.
Provost called three witnesses on Tuesday, laying a cryptic foundation about Renfro’s history of bloody noses.
Judicial Services Alaska State Trooper David Young testified he gave Renfro a tissue after jurors viewed the trailer during the second week of the trial. Young said Renfro told him he had a bloody nose.
Provost’s second witness was Renfro’s stepmother, Chara Renfro.
Renfro lived with his mother in Anchorage until he was 9 years old. He then went to live with his father and stepmother in Wasilla for five years.
Provost has described Renfro’s father as an “active alcoholic.” His stepmother said she needed a sober home in order to take care of herself and moved out for two years after Renfro left.
“He and my husband were butting heads a little bit. He and I were too a little bit. Testing the boundaries, normal teenage stuff,” Chara said.
Chara said Renfro said something disrespectful to her at the time and that’s why his father kicked him out of the house at the end of 2014.
Palmer District Attorney Roman Kalytiak asked Chara if she taught Renfro understood the difference between right and wrong.
“Did you teach him the value of human life,” Kalytiak asked.
“I don’t know that I had to teach him that, specifically. That’s always been understood,” Chara said.
Provost asked her about Renfro’s history of nose bleeds. She said Renfro had bloody noses several times a year.
Kalytiak raised the issue of where the evidence was leading.
“We are putting on a defense. We are corroborating, step by step, piece by piece,” Provost said.
Judge Gregory Heath responded, “So what you’re saying is the relevance will occur with the next witness or something? That’s fine. You can make that statement.”
The defense’s final witness was Renfro’s mother, Brittany Smith. She talked about Bradley’s living situation after he was kicked out of his dad’s house at the end of 2014.
“He was dropped off at my work with a black bag in his hand and handed me a note from his father and said I can’t live there anymore,” Smith said.
“Did you have any notice of this?” Provost asked.
“No. Bradley walked into my office crying and nothing I could do but take him back,” Smith said.
Smith said she was living with her boyfriend at the time who didn’t want Renfro living at the house. Renfro then went to live with his older half-brother for a while before moving to Washington to live with his grandmother for one month.
Renfro ultimately moved back in with his father in Wasilla. He’s been described throughout the trial as being homeless when Grunwald was killed.
Smith testified Renfro had nose bleeds a handful of times a year. It remains unclear where Provost is heading with those statements.
If Renfro chooses not to testify, the judge will read juror instructions on Wednesday, which is expected to take a couple of hours.
Closing arguments in his trial are expected to be on Thursday.
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