Bradley Renfro takes the stand at his murder trial
For the first time, one of the suspects charged in David Grunwald’s murder is sharing his story of what happened the night of the crime.
Bradley Renfro is one of four people accused of beating and killing 16-year-old Grunwald on Nov. 13, 2016. Erick Almandinger and Dominic Johnson have both been found guilty of first-degree murder in the slaying.
Renfro took the witness stand at his trial in Fairbanks on Wednesday. Throughout the first three weeks of trial, jurors have heard three interviews Renfro had with investigators where he repeatedly lied about knowing where Grunwald was.
Now the jury is getting a first-hand account of what Renfro said happened that night.
Renfro’s attorney, Chris Provost, took up the entire day with his direct examination that will be continued to Thursday.
Renfro told Provost he was drunk and high on marijuana on the night of the murder but remembered specific details of the crime. He said he was lying down in the back of Almandinger’s trailer when Johnson attacked Grunwald as he came out of the bathroom.
“It all happened so quick I didn’t know exactly what was going on. When Dominic, after he hit him a few times, David was like, crying, sobbing but quietly. Like shuddering, like he was trying to catch his breath,” Renfro said.
Renfro claimed he had no part in the pistol-whipping or execution. He said Johnson made him get fuel at the gas station to burn the Ford Bronco.
“He said that I hadn’t participated in this anywhere. He said I had to get the gas cans because it seemed like I didn’t want to be a part of it,” Renfro said.
Renfro said he called a friend of his who lived nearby to try to escape the situation and not be involved in the cover-up any further. He said it was Austin Barrett who told the group to stay quiet about the murder and lie to investigators.
“After we got back into the Bronco after David was murdered, Austin was telling us all, like, ‘This is serious.’ I think he understood what he was doing. He said we can’t talk about this to anybody and that if people started getting brought up and he knows about it and people start talking to the cops, that David wasn’t going to be the only one to disappear. He wasn’t just saying it to me, he was saying it to all of us,” Renfro said.
Provost jumped around in his line of questioning, skipping over the crime scene on Knik River Road. During his opening statements, Provost said Renfro told him Barrett was the one who shot Grunwald.
The direct examination will continue Thursday. The Palmer District Attorney will have a chance to cross examine Renfro once the defense is finished.
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