By Rick Sallinger
DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Friday in the case of a woman who was jailed after she refused to testify in a death penalty case, citing her religious beliefs.
From behind bars, Greta Lindecrantz said this is the hardest thing she has ever done.
“I was called to help save a life and it didn’t occur to me that I could be where I am now,” she said.
She was sent to jail Monday by a judge after refusing to testify in the case of Robert Ray. Ray is hoping to have his death penalty overturned. Ray ordered the murders of Javon Marshall-Fields, who was to testify in another case. His fiance, Vivian Wolfe, was also killed in the shooting.
“I cannot participate in the state-sanctioned murder of the taking of another person’s life,” Lindecrantz said.
She is a member of the Mennonite Church, and says her personal religious beliefs will not allow her to testify.
District Attorney George Brauchler, who is seeking to put Ray to death, looks at it differently.
“Can you imagine a system where anybody who was subpoenaed to testify could get out testimony by coming to the court and saying ‘I have deeply held religious convictions that prevent me from providing testimony in this case’? Once that happens this system is over,” he said.
He said Lindecrantz has been paid by taxpayers for her work as an investigator gathering information to try to overturn Ray’s death sentence. Brauchler claimed she knew she was on the prosecution’s witness list, but had not objected to testifying until now.
There have been songs and prayers on behalf of Lindecrantz outside the jail. she says the support is what keeps her going, and it could be for months.