DENVER (CBS4) – A woman who was jailed after she refused to testify in a death penalty case, citing her religious beliefs, has agreed to take the stand — under certain conditions. Her request was denied Friday afternoon.
Greta Lindecrantz 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.
From behind bars, 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.
“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.
However, in a statement released Friday, lawyers said Lindecrantz was concerned “about statements from the Court suggesting that it is drawing an adverse inference against Mr. Ray.”
Lindecrantz provided a handwritten statement late Thursday night for submission to the court, seeking an opportunity to testify as a court-sponsored witness rather than as a witness for the prosecution seeking execution.
“I have been put in an untenable position,” Lindecrantz wrote. “My faith has not and will not change no matter how long I stay in jail. I cannot reconcile my religious views against the death penalty with serving as a witness for the prosecution who is seeking to kill my fellow human being.”
“I believe that there is adequate evidence already in the record without my testimony because I have provided my entire file and the attorneys who directed my work have already testified,” she continued. “However, I am very concerned because the judge intimated she would use the fact that I wouldn’t testify against Mr. Ray. I do not have anything to hide.”
“In order to allow the judge to gather the information she believes is necessary, would it be possible for the judge to call me to the stand and question me directly?” Lindecrantz asked. “I understand that I would still be cross-examined by both sides.”
The court of appeals remanded the case back to the district court to allow for a possible resolution of this situation, but Friday afternoon officials said the district court has denied Lindecrantz’s request to testify as a court witness and she will remain in jail.