Facebook messages between suspect, father highlight Day 4 of murder trial

Facebook messages between Rodney Almandinger and his son Erick were shown at Erick's murder...
Facebook messages between Rodney Almandinger and his son Erick were shown at Erick's murder trial (KTUU)
Published: May. 17, 2018 at 5:49 PM AKDT
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Facebook messages exchanged between Erick Almandinger and his father on the night of David Grunwald’s disappearance were shown to the jury on Thursday during Almandinger’s trial for Grunwald's murder.

Rodney Almandinger says his son Erick didn’t return home that night and ignored multiple Facebook messages from him until early the next morning, when Erick claimed he hadn’t seen Grunwald at all.

“I’m just basically copying pasting what I said on the first page. 'Now you better get ahold of me. The David you are with, his parents are here looking for him,’” Rodney said, reading the text thread off a projector screen.

The messages shown to the jury on Thursday span several days. In one conversation, Almandinger acts surprised when his dad informs him that Grunwald’s Ford Bronco was found torched and abandoned.

A juvenile witness was then called to the stand to answer questions about where Erick and the other defendants went after the murder. The witness said they spent the night drinking and smoking inside a shed at another home in Palmer.

In order to protect the young person’s identity, the judge ordered all cameras out of the courtroom.

The defense on Thursday also had a chance to cross-examine David Evans, a friend of Erick’s who had been living at the Almandinger home for several weeks. He says he was actually moving out that evening, and had nothing to do with what happened to Grunwald.

“[David Grunwald] was a really smart person. He had all the friends in school,” Evans said. “He was just that one person that everyone liked.”