Mennonite Woman Held In Contempt For Refusing To Testify
By Jamie Leary
ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - A Colorado woman and devout Mennonite will spend a second night behind bars for her refusal to testify in a death penalty case.
Greta Lindecrantz, 67, has spent much of her career as an investigator helping others stay out of jail, but on Monday, Lindecrantz found herself in jail.
She was hired by the defense as an investigator during the 2005 trial of Robert Ray.
Ray and his co-defendant, Sir Mario Owens were convicted and sentenced to death for the 2005 murders of Javad Marshall-Fields and fiancée Vivian Wolfe in Aurora.
Ray's legal team is appealing his conviction and prosecutors want Lindecrantz to testify that he had an adequate defense in the case.
Lindecrantz was subpoenaed by the prosecution to testify on her findings. She told the court Monday, as a Mennonite, she does not believe in capital punishment and could not testify.
"I'm telling you right now no matter how long they keep her out there, she's not going to testify," her husband, David Sidwell, said.
He says she is tough and steadfast in her religious beliefs. Her attorney argues the same.
"She has nothing to hide, but she simply cannot, based on her religious views, participate in the killing of another human being and that is exactly what the court is requiring her to do," said Mari Newman, a partner with Denver's Kilmer, Lane & Newman, LLC.
Newman is working for Lindecrantz pro-bono, and says she has never seen a case like this.
"She doesn't need to be held in jail while all of this is happening. There is all kinds of case law that says there are many other options available," Newman said.
While the prosecution claims Lindecrantz's testimony is crucial, her husband and attorney both argue her testimony adds nothing.
"She was an investigator who worked at the direction of the attorneys in the case, and those attorneys have already been called to testify," Newman said. "The pragmatic look at this thing is that the info they want her to confirm is information the prosecution has."
Newman spoke briefly with Lindecrantz on Tuesday, the beginning of her second day in jail.
"She spent the night in jail with nine other women. Some of whom were wretching because they were in detox," said Newman.
Lindecrantz has no plans to change her mind and is getting support not only from the Mennonite community, but from the Colorado Freedom Alliance as well.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Lindecrantz and her family with lost wages while she is being held.
Legal experts say the court could have imposed fines or probation or another resolution.
The district attorney's office wouldn't comment on this case.
A prayer vigil is being held Wednesday morning at 8:15 a.m. in Centennial for Lindecrantz.
Closing arguments are set for Wednesday. If it is found that Ray had ineffective assistance, his original conviction could be overturned.
Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn't imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.
for more features.