Renfro Trial

Bradley J. Renfro listens to the opening statements of his defense attorney Chris Provost Wednesday afternoon, September 4, 2019 at the Rabinowitz Courthouse. Renfro, 18, is one of four teenagers charged with killing 16-year-old David Grunwald in Palmer in 2016. Renfro has nine charges against him, including first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder. He also is charged with assault, kidnapping, tampering with physical evidence, vehicle theft and arson.

A Fairbanks jury has convicted Palmer resident Bradley Renfro of murder and other charges for his part in the 2016 killing of 16-year-old David Grunwald near Palmer.

Renfro, now 19, was convicted of first-degree murder, three counts of second-degree murder, kidnapping, vehicle theft, arson and tampering with physical evidence.

He was acquitted of a single count of first-degree assault.

Grunwald, 16, of Palmer, went missing Nov. 13, 2016, and the burned-out remains of his Ford Bronco were found the next day. Investigators determined that four of his acquaintances — Renfro, Dominic Johnson, Erick Almandinger and Austin Barrett — pistol-whipped Grunwald so severely that he could barely walk, put him into his Bronco, drove him to a remote area southeast of Palmer and shot him once in the head. His body was found Dec. 2, 2016, after Johnson led investigators to the site. 

Renfro, Johnson, Almandinger and Barrett were charged with first-degree murder, three counts of second-degree murder, kidnapping, first-degree assault, vehicle theft, arson and tampering with physical evidence. Almandinger and Johnson were tried last year and convicted of all nine charges but have yet to be sentenced. Barrett is scheduled to go to trial in April 2020. 

A fifth teen, Devin Peterson, was charged with three counts of evidence tampering and one count of hindering prosecution for hiding the two guns used in the crime. Peterson pleaded guilty to all charges in August 2018 and was sentenced to six years in prison. 

Renfro’s trial was moved to Fairbanks because of the publicity surrounding Almandinger’s and Johnson’s trials. Opening arguments began Sept. 4 and the jury heard four weeks of testimony — several days of which were from Renfro — before the trial wrapped up with two days of closing arguments Thursday and Friday.