No verdict in Renfro murder trial after first day of deliberation
After the first day of deliberation, the jury in Bradley Renfro’s murder trial has not reached a verdict.
Renfro, now 19, is the third person to be tried for the beating and shooting of 16-year-old David Grunwald in November 2016.
In each trial, the juries returned guilty verdicts after less than one day of deliberation.
Around 1:30 p.m. Monday, the state and defense attorneys were called to courtroom 203 to provide clarification for a question the jury had about kidnapping.
Jurors wanted a further explanation of the instruction on the kidnapping charge. Part of the instruction reads, “Movement or confinement of another person that is merely incidental to the commission of another offense does not qualify as ‘restraint.’”
The jury has to decide if Grunwald was kidnapped as a separate crime or if the kidnapping was part of another crime, like the murder.
Judge Michael MacDonald, who is filling in for Judge Gregory Heath, decided to refer jurors back to Instruction No. 16(c) that lists the factors that could determine if a person was kidnapped.
Those factors include how long a person was restrained, how far the person was moved, whether the restraint significantly increased the risk of harm to a person and whether the restraint had an independent purpose.
While Renfro’s trial had all the same physical evidence, like DNA analysis and cell phone data records, it was dramatically different because the defendant chose to testify.
Renfro spent six days on the witness stand telling his side of the story. His defense attorney, Chris Provost, used half of that time to meticulously comb through transcripts of Renfro’s three interviews he had with troopers during the investigation, pointing out all the lies Renfro told.
Renfro repeatedly said he lied because he was scared of co-defendant Austin Barrett who he said threatened to harm anyone who gave information to authorities.
Palmer District Attorney Roman Kalytiak said videos of Renfro partying after the murder show the suspect continued to hang out with his friends to smoke marijuana, despite his admission he was afraid.
Renfro also made two profanity-laced phone calls from jail near the end of his trial.
Kalytiak played the recordings for the judge to see if the calls could be used as evidence in the trial. The judge ultimately decided Kalytiak could talk about a portion of the content but did not play the calls for the jury to hear.
Barrett, 22, will be the fourth and final suspect to go to trial in 2020.
Almandinger and Johnson are still waiting to be sentenced for their crimes. Each has a sentencing hearing coming up this winter.
Judge Gregory Heath has previously said he would like to have all the trials completed before sentencing any of the people involved.
Jurors chose to deliberate until 5 p.m. on Monday. They’ll resume at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
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