Two elderly Branch Davidian women originally charged with conspiracy to murder, then held as material witnesses, were free Tuesday and living in an undisclosed location in Texas.
FBI special agent Bob Ricks said 75-year-old Margaret Lawson and 77-year-old Catherine Mattson were released on bond into the custody of a “trusted individual.”
They were released late Monday after an informal hearing with U.S. Magistrate Dennis Green, according to Mattson’s attorney, Gary Coker.
The women were being held as material witnesses in the event of any charges brought against other members of the cult, Green has said.
Lawson and Mattson left the compound March 2 and are still the only two adults who have voluntarily left the Mount Carmel complex since a failed assault Feb. 28.
The two were charged the morning of March 3 with conspiracy to murder in connection with the deaths by gunfire of four Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and firearms agents. The charges were dropped that night in what one U.S. prosecutor said was a mix-up between federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials.
Meanwhile, a detention hearing for Delroy Nash, a Davidian captured during a skirmish the evening of Feb. 28, was granted an indefinite delay. Bob Cole, an attorney for Nash, said he could not comment on the reason for the delay.
Coker, a Waco attorney, said the women are staying, temporarily, in a private residence in Texas, “Sort of like a foster home.”
Coker said his client and Lawson are being kept in seclusion, away from reporters and law enforcement officers. “There’s about six people that know where she is, and I’m one of them,” he said.