Published 2:01 p.m. | Updated 5:33 p.m.
A 67-year-old woman will spend another night in the Arapahoe County jail after refusing to testify in a death penalty case. As a Mennonite, she says capital punishment violates her religious beliefs.
Greta Lindecrantz is a private investigator and worked on the defense team of Robert Ray, who was convicted of killing Javad Marshall-Fields and his fiancee, Vivian Wolfe, in Aurora in 2005.
Ray’s legal team is appealing his conviction and prosecutors want Lindecrantz to testify that he had an adequate defense in the case. Because he was sentenced to death, Lindecrantz doesn’t want to be a part of the post-sentence proceeding.
She refused to answer more than 70 questions about her work on behalf of the defense on Monday. District Judge Michelle Amico held her in contempt of court and sent her to jail overnight.
“Death is the ultimate punishment and compelling Ms. Lindecrantz to testify against her religious views … is an abomination,” said her lawyer Mari Newman. “It simply can’t be tolerated.”
Newman said Lindecrantz, who hasn’t committed any crimes, was in a cell with more than a dozen other women overnight in wretched conditions — some were sick from detox and there were feces on the floor.
Judge Amico refused to hear arguments on Tuesday from Newman, who was asking that she send Lindecrantz home with an ankle monitor instead of jail time. Lindecrantz was briefly in court in an orange jumpsuit before being taken back to jail.
Outside the courtroom, Lindecrantz’s husband Dave Sidwell said the prosecutors “have all the information they need from her work on the case” and he doesn’t understand why they need additional testimony from his wife.
“It’s not a great situation for us,” Sidwell said. “It’s worse for my wife than I. She’s not going to change her mind. To me, it’s a pointless pursuit.”
Arapahoe County District Attorney spokeswoman Vikki Migoya said she couldn’t comment on an ongoing case, but court filings by Arapahoe County Chief District Attorney Ann Tomsic noted Lindecrantz has already done the work.
“Her role as a witness, truthfully describing the work she did is no more a conflict with her faith than the work itself,” the filings said.
The documents note that Lindecrantz collected at least $389,552 in compensation and expenses from the state as a defense investigator and mitigation specialist knowing that the state was seeking the death penalty.
Tomsic noted, “The people are not asking Ms. Lindecrantz to testify against her church, to advocate for the death penalty, or to carry it out.”
Newman said she will file an emergency appeal with the Colorado Supreme Court to try and get Lindecrantz out of jail as soon as possible.
“Ms. Lindecrantz will suffer in jail another night until she complies with the courts order and abandons her faith and testifies for the prosecution who is attempting to kill her client,” Newman said. “It is an outrage.”
Rev. Vern Rempel, a pastor a the Beloved Community Mennonite Church in Englewood, said he had a conversation with Lindecrantz over the weekend and prayed with her about her decision.
“We don’t kill as a solution to anything,” Rempel said, outside the courtroom on Tuesday. “Ethical and moral statements are one thing, but there’s something that lands in someone’s heart … She said, ‘I have clarity about this.’”
Rempel was in the courtroom to support Lindecrantz, along with about a dozen other members of the church on Tuesday. They sang a hymn outside the jail, “I Don’t Want To Run This Race In Vain.”
Lindecrantz has another court appearance at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday.
Read More: Judge Jails Defense Investigator After She Refuses To Testify In Death Penalty Case (via Colorado Independent)
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