PROVO Tamara Ragsdale said she's tired of getting blasted for trying to get her brother a fair trial and has even asked the FBI to investigate the death threats she's receiving.
Ragsdale's brother David Ragsdale is sitting in the Utah County Jail awaiting trial for aggravated murder. Prosecutors say he fatally shot his wife, Kristy, 10 times in a Lehi church parking lot in January.
"All I'm doing is making sure he gets a fair trial, which he's entitled to," Tamara Ragsdale told the Deseret News. "Whether he's guilty or not, I love him and he's entitled to (a fair trial). Why am I the one that's being the 'whipping boy?"'
Tamara Ragsdale said she has received several e-mail threats telling her that she needs to stop supporting her brother or she will be killed and "it won't be in a parking lot," she said, quoting the threat.
A recent threat sent to her boyfriend tells him to stop talking to her and that if he doesn't, he will be killed, too.
"If you think I'm kidding, just try me," she said, reading from the note. "Even stray bullets can kill."
"It's really scary that we live in a state that has convicted somebody before all the evidence is out there, before he's had a fair trial," she said. "Whether he's guilty or not is irrelevant in my mind. All I'm doing is speaking for him from jail. People are so judgmental about me trying to do my job and be my brother's advocate. Who else is going to do it?"
David Ragsdale has been appointed a public defender in his criminal case but also faces several civil suits, including a wrongful death suit filed on behalf of the two young Ragsdale boys and their guardian ad litem.
The lawsuit asks that Ragsdale's funds go to his young boys as they argue that Ragsdale is responsible for the wrongful death of their mother.
Because of the lawsuit, David Ragsdale's assets are frozen, and he has no way to pay for a civil attorney, Tamara Ragsdale said.
David Ragsdale had to respond to the lawsuit within a certain number of days or the judgment would be entered by default.
After his old power of attorney didn't do anything, Tamara Ragsdale said she was approached with two days left on the deadline.
So she called David and had him dictate to her from the jail his defenses that being on several prescription medications altered his thinking so severely that he didn't know what he was doing that morning.
She typed it up, wrote "pro se" next to his name, meaning he's representing himself, and signed her name, stating she was acting for him as his power of attorney.
Attorneys who filed the case responded by asking that her answer be thrown out as they argue she was practicing law without a license.
"Power of attorney gives you tons of power, except in the courtroom," said William M. Jeffs, the guardian ad litem for the Ragsdale boys.
Jeffs said that he and his brother, Robert Jeffs, who is representing David Ragsdale on the wrongful death case, believe that Tamara Ragsdale cannot sign her name for her brother, as it translates to legal representation, which she isn't qualified to give.
Tamara Ragsdale said she didn't have a chance to get her brother to sign the answer, as he is still on lock down in his cell 23 hours a day.A judge will have to rule on whether her response is acceptable, Jeffs said.