David Grunwald’s 1995 Ford Bronco was his proudest possession. There were better vehicles available to him but, with the help of his father, he’d fixed it up. By the time he was done, it was the perfect truck for Alaska: he could go practically anywhere. And for a 16-year-old… That represented a special kind of freedom.
David Grunwald’s Ford Bronco
November 16, 2016
After beating David Grunwald mercilessly — he was going in and out of consciousness — Erick and his “crew” were left with a dilemma. They probably knew that they were in trouble (I say probably because their decisions up to this point weren’t exactly stellar). If they stopped right where they were, they surely faced assault charges. Even then, there was the difficulty of what to do with David. Leave him there and call the cops? Unlikely. Take him somewhere and drop him off? How? The only vehicle they had… Was David’s Bronco.
When the four of then guided a woozy David Grunwald to the Bronco, took his car keys and drove off with Dominic Johnson at the wheel, they stepped into oblivion. Erick gave Dominic “random” directions; they ended up near Victoria Mokelke’s house; David pulled himself together long enough to beg that they drop him off there.
They kept driving. Because, of course, if they dropped off David they’d still have his Bronco. Either that or they’d be stuck out there on a frigid November night without transportation. Yeah, right, better to kill the guy.
They crossed the Knik River on the Old Glenn Highway bridge, then drifted east into the darkness of Knik River Rd. A little over seven miles later they stopped, marched David Grunwald into the woods and executed him with a single shot to the head.
Erick Almandinger’s “friends” identified him as the shooter. Erick Almandinger alternately claimed Dominic Johnson, and then Austin Barrett, was the shooter. The murder weapon, a stolen 9mm Ruger, belonged to Austin Barrett.
With what they thought to be a dead man in the woods (there was a moment when one of them suggested they go back and make sure), these careless killers now faced a series of decisions. First up, they contacted Devin Peterson, their Crips “expert,” and went to his house to hand off their weapons (the .40 Ruger used to pistol-whip David and the 9mm Ruger used to kill him).
Now they needed to dispose of David Grunwald’s prized Bronco.
The plan they hatched was to take the Bronco into the bush and torch it. Peterson gave them two gas canisters. From there, Erick Almandinger, Dominic Johnson and Bradley Renfro set out to find a gas station. Austin Barrett stayed behind, eventually sleeping in a car outside Devin Peterson’s house.
10:53:55 p.m.: Holiday Gas Station – Store video shows Bradley Renfro placing the gas cans at the pump.
10:54 p.m.: Holiday Gas Station – Store video shows Renfro going inside the gas station.
10:56 p.m.: Holiday Gas Station – Store video shows Dominic Johnson on the phone with Devin Peterson.
11:37 p.m.: Erick Almandinger responds to Victoria Mokelke.
November 14, 2016
12:12 a.m.: Erick Almandinger responds to his father.
12:28 a.m.: Dominic Johnson calls Alaska Cab.
12:55 a.m.: Cab is seen on mini-mart video at Seldon and Church in Palmer.
1:03 a.m.: Cab is seen on mini-mart video at Seldon and Church in Palmer.
3:55 a.m.: Erick Almandinger starts communicating with Alissa Bledsoe as they seek a hideout. Alissa offers her shed.
6:12 a.m.: Alissa tells Almandinger to keep the group quiet; they are drinking and partying in the shed. Almandinger ultimately pees his pants in a drunken stupor.
12:18 p.m.: Ryan Walker calls AST about the burned out Bronco.
12:38 p.m.: AST Trooper Green arrives at the Bronco’s location.