12:28, March 12 206 0 abajournal.com

2018-03-12 12:28:10
Jailed investigator will testify because it may help capital client’s cause

An investigator who refused to testify for prosecutors in a capital appeal on religious grounds has changed her mind after learning her testimony could help the condemned man.

Greta Lindecrantz, a 67-year-old Mennonite, changed her mind after spending nearly two weeks in jail, report the Washington Post, the Denver Post, the Colorado Independent and The Associated Press. The Colorado Court of Appeals had affirmed on Friday the contempt of court decision putting Lindecrantz in jail.

Lindecrantz’s change of heart was revealed in a court document filed Saturday by her lawyer, Mari Newman.

Prosecutors want Lindecrantz to testify about her work for lawyers representing Robert Ray to establish that he received effective assistance of counsel when he was sentenced to death. Lindecrantz had refused because she didn’t want to assist the taking of a life.

Lindecrantz changed her mind after learning that Ray’s current lawyers believe her refusal to testify was harming Ray’s chance of “securing a legal remedy to spare his life,” Newman wrote.

“Ms. Lindecrantz must take them at their word and re-evaluate her position,” Newman wrote. “Based on this dramatic change in circumstance, she has concluded that her religious principles honoring human life now compel that she must testify.”

Ray had been sentenced to death for the 2005 murder of two people, one of whom was a witness in another murder case. Lindecrantz had worked as a mitigation specialist for the defense from 2005 to 2009, according to the Independent.

Ray’s post-conviction lawyers say trial attorneys failed to present evidence that the defendant was sexually assaulted as a child by a 15-year-old cousin and by an older woman. A doctor has diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder from the sexual assaults, the lawyers say.

Post-conviction lawyers also said the defense failed to interview former friends and teachers about Ray’s caring and empathetic qualities, and failed to interview people who say he has been a model prisoner. The same lawyers also say the defense should have investigated the prosecution’s star witness, Ray’s wife, who received living expenses and a car as part of a witness protection program.