James Arthur Ray began serving a two-year sentence last month on a trio of negligent homicide convictions. The terms of the settlements reached last year recently were disclosed in court documents filed as exhibits in Ray’s criminal case and released Friday at the request of The Associated Press.
The families of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman, sued Ray after the October 2009 ceremony near Sedona. The lawsuits accused Ray and his company of negligence, fraud and wrongful death. Others who were injured in the ceremony also were party to the lawsuit. […]
The families of three people who participated in an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony tearfully pleaded with a judge to give James Arthur Ray, the self-help author convicted in their deaths the maximum sentence.
During the trial, Ray’s attorneys had tried to characterize the deaths as a tragic, unavoidable accident, and had tried to persuade jurors that some unknown toxin might have caused the deaths. But jurors didn’t buy it, as several said in subsequent media interviews.
Judge Darrow had limited prosecutors’ efforts to introduce testimony about prior sweat lodges and other events led by Ray at which participants were injured; but after releasing the jury, in the pre-sentencing phase, Darrow allowed greater latitude to both sides.
Prosecutors aggressively made the case that Ray had ignored plenty of warning signs that his events were becoming dangerous, and that his stated desire to become the world’s first “self-help” billionaire led him to become increasingly careless at his events, a contention contested by Ray’s defense team.
A self-help author convicted of negligent homicide expressed extreme remorse for the deaths of three people following an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony he led and vowed never to conduct another one, a probation officer wrote in a presentence report obtained by The Associated Press.
James Arthur Ray said he’s hopeful a Yavapai County judge sentences him to probation, while prosecutors say he deserves the maximum nine-year sentence for senselessly robbing three families of their loved ones. [Read more...]
By finding Ray guilty of negligent homicide, the jury in effect decided that while Ray’s conduct caused the deaths, he wasn’t aware of or didn’t recognize the risk of death caused by his conduct – in this case, the manner in which he ran the sweat lodge. [Read more...]
Jurors in the manslaughter trial of James Arthur Ray have heard the complete briefing the self-help author gave to dozens of people before they entered a northern Arizona sweat lodge ceremony he conducted.
In the recording, Ray told participant, who paid up to $10,000 each to attend the event, that as “true spiritual warriors” and their “altered state” they would endure heat so intense it would make it feel like their skins was coming off of their bodies. [Read more...]