Her Religious Beliefs Sent Her to Jail. Now They May Free Her

Investigator was held in contempt of court in death penalty case, but now, a 'dramatic change'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2018 8:44 AM CDT

Greta Lindecrantz was sent to jail due to her religious convictions, and now, after two weeks behind bars, those religious convictions, as well as a "dramatic change in circumstance," will apparently set her free. Lindecrantz, a criminal defense investigator, was held in contempt of court Feb. 26 for refusing to testify for the prosecution in a Colorado death penalty case. As a Mennonite, Lindecrantz opposes all violence and feared testifying might help send Robert Ray, whose defense team she worked on, to his death. Now, however, the 67-year-old has had a change of heart and will testify, her lawyer says in a statement, per the Denver Post. But it's not because the prosecution swayed her—it's because Lindecrantz got wind that Ray's defense team thinks her not testifying will hurt his appeal.

"Ms. Lindecrantz must take them at their word and reevaluate her position," reads the statement, which the AP notes was filed on Saturday. "Based on this dramatic change in circumstance, she has concluded that her religious principles honoring human life now compel that she must testify." Ray, convicted in 2009 of killing two people and sentenced to death, now has a new defense team, and its appeal case is partly resting on the claim that his original legal team (which included Lindecrantz) was incompetent. Prosecutors had hoped to nullify that claim by showing how competent Lindecrantz is through her testimony. But possibly putting Ray's life on the line by not testifying "changes everything," her lawyer's statement reads. On Friday, Lindecrantz's emergency motion to be released had been denied, per NBC News. It's unclear when she could now be set free to testify. (More Mennonites stories.)

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