Edie Grunwald to chair Parole Board - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, July 29, 2021
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Edie Grunwald to chair Parole Board

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.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Money talks. Conflict of interests, never will give anyone a fair shake, prejudice, and it’ll all be personal. ?
    You all make it out, that she’s the only person in this state, whose child has died. You media mongrels, never talk about other families that have or are going through this. Talk about one sided, and well paid. Proof, that money talks.
    Two teens, killed another teen, in Anchorage, 2 years ago, but you people never talk about that.

    • How about the mother of the 15-year old boy in Fairbanks? He was murdered by the Fairbanks Four, who are now out of jail and trying to get their PFDs retroactively. We never heard from this mom and how she hurt from losing her son. All we heard about is the poor Fairbanks Four, who police still believe committed the murder.

    • You are fortunate that Ms Downing allows comments such as yours. Imo a comment like yours should be thrown into the garbage. Your insensitivity is quite disturbing and says more about you than about Downing’s article.

    • The Grunwald’s have served this country and deserve more respect than you are giving by your comment. If there are others that need to be addressed then do so, without being critical of these two parents and their tragic loss.

    • “Me” is the dad of Erik Almamdinger, who is was found guilty on all 9 charges for murder. For he is posting the same comment under his pseudo name Rodney Flahtley all over FB. You are trolling, very surprised they allow your comments on this page.

    • Really! Mrs. Grunwald is being faulted because she took a serious role in ensuring justice was served for her son’s brutal murder! Everyone has the same opportunity to speak out and up for those who have been brutalized. Some folks can’t do that for numerous reasons. Mrs. Grunwald is being faulted because of her strength, fortitude, character and strong will. David’s murder has been spotlighted because he had parents who sought justice for a horrible wrong to be dealt with justly. Hopefully you will never have to face what she and Ben have suffered so needlessly. But, should that happen she will be here to ensure that those who did harm to you or your loved one will serve their sentence for the crime committed against you and humanity.

    • Nobody has “made it out” that she is the only person in the state that has had a child that has died. Yes, it was a high profile murder case. Every person on the planet has a story. Hard pressed to find a person that isn’t connected to something. Kind of like trying to find someone in Alaska you’re not related to if you’ve lived here long enough. Get over it. Also interesting to read that your handle “ME” has been exposed as being Almandingers dad. If this is true, I find your comments even more interesting and perhaps should be used as a case study of teens who kill and why they do it, and how they got to that point.

  • Great choice. She has lived it and will do an excellent job!

  • This is change. I voted for change. This will work fine.

  • Awesome! Edie is a very objective person, extremely fair, and by the book. The board make up requires a victim perspective. She has experienced the ins and outs of the judicial system for the past 2 years and most likely 2 more years. She understands the process and can determine if someone has met all the requirements for parole with balancing the victims input. Plus there is a system in place, you cant just deny someone parole, this appointment will bring extra oversight to the process- great quality assurance move! Dont forget ~ she has a couple of Master Degrees and broad experience. Ran on the platform reform, rehab and reintegration. What better position to identify rehabilitation efforts in the system ? Identify gaps and provide recommendations to the incarnated rehabilitation programs ? You all will be pleasantly pleased with her.

  • There are people who are falsely accused also and should be listened to!! I hope she does a good job of listening and it sounds like she might…

  • Fantastic choice. I have worked with Edie since she was a Second Lieutenant and know she will bring great integrity to this most important position. Those criticizing her because of her tragic loss of David should be ashamed. This is a quality women of great accomplishment who will serve Alaskans in an exemplary manner.

  • While I have great sympathy for this woman and her family, I’m surprised someone who is still involved with ongoing legal actions (the two boys still awaiting trial) would be appointed to a position that will be hearing cases that may mirror crimes so close to her own be able to stay unbiased and objective. Maybe appointment to the board but it seems unrealistic to be appointed as chairman when she has not even served any time as a board member.

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