Gov. Michael Dunleavy has named Edie Grunwald as the incoming chair of the Alaska Parole Board, Must Read Alaska has learned.
Grunwald ran for lieutenant governor in 2018, and she is well-known across Alaska for her indomitable spirit, optimism in the face of adversity, and frank style of communication.
In a six-way primary, she came in second to Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, winning over 18,000 votes to Meyer’s 23,838.
She’s also well-known as the mother of a slain teen.
David Grunwald was a clean-cut 16-year-old when he was bludgeoned and shot. His body was found two and a half weeks later along the Knik River, outside of Palmer, where one of the murderers dumped it in November, 2016.
MILITARY EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION
Grunwald spent 31 years in the military, starting out as an Air Force aircraft mechanic, earning a commission, and then retiring as a colonel.
She earned two master’s degrees in Business Organizational Management, and Strategy, National Security and Military. She also earned a Senior Human Resources certification and is a USCCA Firearms Instructor.
SON’S MURDERERS GOING THROUGH JUSTICE SYSTEM
But for the past two-plus years, Grunwald and her husband Ben Grunwald have often been found in a courtroom in Palmer, attending every emotional hearing for the six young men accused of their son’s death, listening to the testimony and offering victims statements. She has met with the parole officers for the pre-sentencing report, and taken calls from the media at every twist in the journey. As a parent, she has been through the legal system in dogged pursuit of justice for David.
The sentencing for the first person to be convicted, Erick Almandinger, is set for March 20, 2019. Almandinger was found guilty of first-degree murder, kidnapping, assault, and other charges. It was his gun that was used to beat Grunwald senseless, and then Almandinger was the one who drove Grunwald in Grunwald’s 1995 Ford Bronco to the Knik River location, and shot him once in the head. Then, he set the Bronco on fire.
Almandinger’s co-defendant Dominic Johnson was also found guilty by a Palmer jury on Dec. 27.
Others accused in the incident are Brad Renfro and Austin Barrett. A fifth young man, Devin Peterson, 19, pleaded guilty last year to evidence tampering and hindering prosecution, but not murder.
Grunwald replaces Lonzo Henderson, who served as chair for several years. Her term will start on March 1.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.