Gamesmanship Or Higher Debate? Appeals Court To Hear Mennonite Investigator’s Case

<p>Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office via AP</p>
Photo: Mennonite Investigator - AP
This undated booking photo provided by the Arapahoe County, Colo., Sheriff's Office shows Greta Lindecrantz, a defense investigator jailed for refusing to testify for prosecutors in a death penalty appeal.

Posted 5:55 a.m.| Updated 1:34 p.m.

Editor's Note: After initially remanding the case to the district court, the Colorado Appeals Court reversed course and decided to hear the case. Greata Lindecrantz's attorney is concerned her client's refusal will be used against Robert Ray. Newman said Lindecrantz is willing to testify if called by the court, rather than by prosecutors' subpoena. That request was denied Friday, prompting the newly scheduled appeals court hearing. Our original story continues below.

Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler said he won’t give a reprieve to a 67-year-old Mennonite woman who is refusing to testify to help prosecutors in a death penalty case.

A higher court agreed Thursday to hear arguments in the case of Greta Lindecrantz, a private investigator who worked for several years on the defense team of Robert Ray — who was convicted of murder in 2009 for killing Javad Marshall-Fields. He was sentenced to death.

Ray’s new lawyers appealed the decision and prosecutors asked Lindecrantz to the stand to vouch for her work, to say, essentially, that Ray had a good defense and she didn’t make any mistakes.

But because he was sentenced to death, Lindecrantz, who has worked on a handful of murder cases and death penalty cases in the past, refused. She says she doesn’t want to give testimony that would help a man die.

“(Ray) has put her in this position,” Brauchler said, referring to the convicted murderer. “I think we’re entitled to that evidence. I think the remaining family members and loved ones of Javad Marshall-Fields, the true hero, the true courageous witness in this case. He deserves this.”

Brauchler says Ray’s new lawyers are saying the part of the defense that Lindecrantz led during the trial was the part that was flawed, so he needs her to talk about her work honestly. Lindecrantz’s lawyer has openly asked why the court needs her testimony, given her long paper trail on the case.

“My hope is Ms. Lindecrantz finds the courage to comply with the law like everyone else has,” he said. “This is gamesmanship. This is an attempt to bring the media on board to try and make her a martyr on the issue of being anti-death penalty.”

In a Thursday jail interview with reporters via video feed, Lindecrantz talked about how difficult jail has been and how much she is worried about her husband, who has medical needs and is at home alone.

She’s been ill and lost four pounds in three days, she said.

Lindecrantz prayed last weekend with her pastor about her decision.

“I’m really uncomfortable about being the person in the center of this,” she said. “This is not about me. It’s more about how our country and our courts think about religion and the death penalty. I’m a law-abiding person who wants to cooperate and I find myself needing to choose between freedom and testifying against my faith. It’s daunting.”

The Associate Press contributed to this report.