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Crime & Courts

Grunwald defendant sentenced on federal charges of giving marijuana to minors

Devin Peterson at a court appearance in Palmer, Jan. 10, 2017. (Loren Holmes / ADN file photo)

Devin Peterson was sentenced to three years in prison Monday on federal charges linked to the investigation into the killing of David Grunwald in November 2016.

The 19-year-old from Wasilla was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline for distribution of marijuana to minors, according to a press release from the U.S. attorney's office in Anchorage.

Grunwald was shot and killed near the Knik River after being pistol-whipped in a trailer behind a Palmer home, authorities say. Four teens at the time were charged in his murder; the first Palmer Superior Court trial in the case began Monday.

Peterson is expected to be sentenced to another six years in state court in August for his role in the murder case. Prosecutors say the four teens charged with the killing drove to Peterson's house after committing the crime and got him to hide weapons and give them the gas cans they later used to burn Grunwald's Ford Bronco.

Alaska State Troopers got a warrant to search Peterson's phone during the murder investigation, the release states. They found a 10-second video "showing the sexual assault of an incapacitated 15-year-old girl" taken at a party in July 2016. Peterson gave the girl marijuana during the party, "contributing to her extreme intoxication and subsequent assault," it says.

Beistline at Monday's sentencing hearing addressed Peterson's role in the sexual assault, as well as the Grunwald case, the U.S. attorney's office said.

The judge told Peterson he's "done great damage to the community," according to the release.

Peterson can't pay back the families of his victims but he can demonstrate "that you can be a better person than you have been in the past," the judge told him.

"You mess up again (it's) pretty much over … no one is going to be thinking about mercy," Beistline said.

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