Jailed Mennonite investigator reverses course, will testify in appeal of man on death row

DENVER -- A Mennonite defense investigator who refused to testify in a death penalty case, citing her religious convictions, changed course Saturday and notified the court.

Greta Lindecranzt conceded but outlined reasons why she had reversed her stance. A statement said changed circumstances impacted Lindecrantz’s opposition to testify.

A statement from Lindecrantz’s lawyer said her client will testify in the appeals case.

Lindecrantz is a former investigator that worked on the case of a man who landed on death row; the man is now appealing the decision.

Robert Ray’s defense team is challenging his death sentence partly by arguing that he did not have an effective legal team.

Prosecutors apparently want Lindecrantz to testify to back up their case that he did have good representation.

Ray and co-defendant Sir Mario Owens were sentenced to death for the 2005 killings of Javad Marshall-Fields and his fiancee Vivian Wolfe.

Lindecrantz's attorney said her client has not changed her beliefs.

The decision to testify comes after Lindecrantz was told she was starting to harm the death penalty appeals case instead of help it.

“She has now been told that her refusal to testify based on religious grounds may be putting Mr. Ray’s life at risk and because her overarching principal is for the value of human life, she can’t do that consistent with her beliefs,” Mari Newman said.

“Now, having been told that the decision not to testify might be hurting Mr. Ray, she has to testify.”

Among those reasons listed was a suggestion by Ray’s current council that “They have now communicated to counsel for Ms. Lindecrantz that they believe her refusal to testify for the prosecution is adversely affecting Mr. Ray’s legal position, putting Mr. Ray’s life at risk. This changes everything.

"Having learned that Mr. Ray’s current counsel believes that not obtaining her testimony will adversely affect Mr. Ray’s likelihood of securing a legal remedy to spare his life, Ms. Lindecrantz must take them at their word and reevaluate her position.

"Based on these changed circumstances, Ms. Lindecrantz has concluded that her religious beliefs honoring the value of all lives require her to testify in order to protect the legal rights of Mr. Ray.”

“I’m satisfied anytime someone meets the minimum requirements of the law that any Coloradan, anywhere in the state of Colorado would meet under a subpoena,” Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler said.

Brauchler saiod Lindecrantz's release date is up to the court.

“I think that contempt remains unabated until she actually testifies," he said. "I imagine they could ask the court for some sort of leave or exception or stay on the continued contempt because she’s now said she’s going to comply with the subpoena, but that’s up to the court."

A judge ordered the jailing of Lindecrantz on Feb. 26 after she repeatedly refused to answer questions about her work on the defense team.

At the time of her jailing, Lindecrantz said she was “disappointed” in the decision by the Court of Appeals.

“Instead of looking at all of the options, the court has chosen the most punitive action to try to break her will,” Newman said when her client was first jailed.

No date for Lindecrantz to testify has been announced.