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Teenage Utah girl pleads not guilty to killing sheriff's deputy

Meagan Grunwald, 17, pleads not guilty to the aggravated murder of a sheriff's deputy in Utah.

By Frances Burns

PROVO, Utah, May 12 (UPI) -- Lawyers for a 17-year-old Utah girl charged with participating in a crime spree that left a sheriff's deputy dead say she will tell her side of the story at trial.

Meagan Grunwald, who is charged as an adult, pleaded not guilty Monday to 12 charges, including the aggravated murder of Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Cory Wride. Prosecutors say Grunwald was the getaway driver for her boyfriend, Jose Angel Garcia-Juaregui, who died after being shot by deputies in Juab County.

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Lawyer Dean Zabriskie suggested after the hearing that Grunwald may have been under duress on Jan. 30 and that Garcia-Juaregui may have threatened her with a gun.

"She's the only one who can tell us what went on in that truck during those hours," Dean Zabriskie said.

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In court documents filed in February, when Grunwald was charged as an adult, prosecutors said the shooting spree began at about 1 p.m. on Jan. 30, when Wride pulled over a Toyota Tundra pickup with Grunwald at the wheel. Garcia-Juaregui allegedly shot and killed the deputy while he was back in his patrol car.

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A few miles to the south, another Utah County deputy was allegedly wounded when Garcia-Juaregui shot him in the head as he followed the pickup.

The couple allegedly stole a car after breaking down in Juab County. When sheriff's deputies used spike strips to stop them, Garcia-Juaregui tried to carjack a vehicle he had just struck and then aimed a gun at police.

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Prosecutors said in court documents that Garcia-Juaregui, lying wounded, asked as he was being handcuffed to kiss Grunwald and that she screamed obscenities at sheriff's deputies for shooting him. Garcia-Juaregui died of his wounds the next day.

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